Other Scientists link certain gut bacteria to lower heart disease risk (April 2024, n=1429) Gut microbiome and metabolome profiling in Framingham heart study reveals cholesterol-metabolizing bacteria

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023

The approach uncovered more than 16,000 associations between microbes and metabolic traits, including one that was particularly strong: People with several species of bacteria from the Oscillibacter genus had lower cholesterol levels than those who lacked the bacteria. The researchers found that species in the Oscillibacter genus were surprisingly abundant in the gut, representing on average one in every 100 bacteria.

The team found another gut bacterial species, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, that also contributes to decreased cholesterol levels. This species carries a gene that the scientists had previously shown is involved in cholesterol metabolism.

In the new work, the team discovered that Eubacterium might have a synergistic effect with Oscillibacter on cholesterol levels


  • Multi-omic profiling in FHS reveals microbes and metabolites associated with CVD
  • Oscillibacter species are associated with decreased blood and stool cholesterol
  • Homology searches and molecular networking predict cholesterol enzymes and products
  • Oscillibacter species encode for conserved cholesterol-metabolizing enzymes


Accumulating evidence suggests that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is associated with an altered gut microbiome. Our understanding of the underlying mechanisms has been hindered by lack of matched multi-omic data with diagnostic biomarkers.

To comprehensively profile gut microbiome contributions to CVD, we generated stool metagenomics and metabolomics from 1,429 Framingham Heart Study participants. We identified blood lipids and cardiovascular health measurements associated with microbiome and metabolome composition. Integrated analysis revealed microbial pathways implicated in CVD, including flavonoid, γ-butyrobetaine, and cholesterol metabolism. Species from the Oscillibacter genus were associated with decreased fecal and plasma cholesterol levels.

Using functional prediction and in vitro characterization of multiple representative human gut Oscillibacter isolates, we uncovered conserved cholesterol-metabolizing capabilities, including glycosylation and dehydrogenation.

These findings suggest that cholesterol metabolism is a broad property of phylogenetically diverse Oscillibacter spp., with potential benefits for lipid homeostasis and cardiovascular health.

More commentary:
Gut bacteria break down cholesterol — hinting at probiotic treatments. Species in the human microbiome have enzymes that can metabolize a potentially dangerous lipid. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00955-3
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