"So we also looked at how the patients' microbes actually changed in pattern, even though they remained distinct from each other," she said. "The patterns of change were very interesting. Some of the patterns were very distinct in themselves."
The researchers noticed that among the numerous classes of bacteria present in each patient, variations in the populations of two particular groups seemed to correspond with variations between patients in the degree to which they developed a fatty liver during the period of dietary choline depletion.
"Those patients with the highest abundance of Gammaproteobacteria at the beginning of the study seemed to have the lowest fatty liver development. The ones with the least developed the most fatty liver," Spencer noted. "Erysipeoltrichi showed exactly the opposite association, though this relationship was not quite as strong. So there seemed to be change going on in opposite directions."
When the trends of Gammaproteobacteria abundance and Erysiptoltrichi scarcity were combined and related to fatty liver development, the relationship became even stronger.
Finally, the researchers factored in individual genetic variations that affect internal production of the nutrient choline and that should explain why some patients developed fatty liver and others did not. Surprisingly, the results showed that each person's genetics did not entirely account for their fatty liver outcome. When the researchers modified the analysis to include the abundances of the two bacterial groups and each individual's genetics, the correlation between fatty liver development and these three factors was nearly perfect. Further mathematical tests were performed to show that the correlations were n
|Contact: James Hathaway|
University of North Carolina at Charlotte