Gut microbiota is associated with adiposity markers and probiotics may impact specific genera



It has been suggested that restoring gut microbiota alterations with probiotics represents a potential clinical target for the treatment of gut microbiota-related diseases, such as obesity. Here, we apply 16S rDNA microbiota profiling to establish which bacteria in the human gut are associated with obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors, and to evaluate whether probiotic supplementation modulates gut microbiota.


We evaluated the effects of a probiotic mixture (2 × 1010 CFU/day of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14, Lactobacillus casei LC-11, Lactococcus lactis LL-23, Bifidobacterium bifidum BB-06, and Bifidobacterium lactis BL-4) in 32 overweight or obese women in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Using 16S rDNA sequencing, we characterized fecal samples and investigated the relationships between microbiome data and diet, body composition, antioxidant enzymes, and inflammatory profile. In addition, we characterized the degree of variation among fecal communities after the intervention.


BMI, weight, fat mass, lean mass, conicity index, protein intake, monounsaturated fat intake, glycated hemoglobin, TNF-α, and IL6/IL10 were significantly correlated with microbiome composition. The candidate division TM7 was strongly associated with all adiposity markers and Clostridiaceae associated negatively with TNF-α. The family Clostridiaceae increased and TM7 tended to decrease after the probiotic mixture supplementation. Subjects were clustered according to body composition, and a higher proportion of TM7 was observed in those with higher adiposity.


Ecosystem-wide analysis of probiotic use effects on the gut microbiota revealed a genera specific influence, and one of which (TM7) represents a promising novel target for obesity treatment.

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Bayesian information criterion




Placebo group


Glutathione peroxidase


Lipid accumulation product






Operational taxonomic unit


Probiotic mix group


Superoxide dismutase


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The authors wish to thank Dr. Ravila Graziany, Machado de Souza, and Tatyanne Leticia Nogueira Gomes for patient recruitment. The authors thank Dr. Simone Gonçalves da Fonseca for sharing her lab’s structure and Dr. Carla M. Prado for English language review. This work was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás—FAPEG (Grant number 201310267001083) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES (23038.014292/2018-73).


This work was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás—FAPEG (Grant number 201310267001083) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES (23038.014292/2018-73).

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Correspondence to João Felipe Mota.

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Gomes, A.C., Hoffmann, C. & Mota, J.F. Gut microbiota is associated with adiposity markers and probiotics may impact specific genera. Eur J Nutr 59, 1751–1762 (2020).

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  • Obesity
  • Gut microbiota
  • Body composition
  • Probiotics