Distinct signatures of host-microbial meta-metabolome and gut microbiome in two C57BL/6 strains under high-fat diet

Alesia Walker, Barbara Pfitzner, Susanne Neschen, Melanie Kahle, Mourad Harir, Marianna Lucio, Franco Moritz, Dimitrios Tziotis, Michael Witting, Michael Rothballer, Marion Engel, Michael Schmid, David Endesfelder, Martin Klingenspor, Thomas Rattei, Wolfgang Zu Castell, Martin Hrabé De Angelis, Anton Hartmann, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


A combinatory approach using metabolomics and gut microbiome analysis techniques was performed to unravel the nature and specificity of metabolic profiles related to gut ecology in obesity. This study focused on gut and liver metabolomics of two different mouse strains, the C57BL/6J (C57J) and the C57BL/6N (C57N) fed with high-fat diet (HFD) for 3 weeks, causing diet-induced obesity in C57N, but not in C57J mice. Furthermore, a 16S-ribosomal RNA comparative sequence analysis using 454 pyrosequencing detected significant differences between the microbiome of the two strains on phylum level for Firmicutes, Deferribacteres and Proteobacteria that propose an essential role of the microbiome in obesity susceptibility. Gut microbial and liver metabolomics were followed by a combinatory approach using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) and ultra performance liquid chromatography time of tlight MS/MS with subsequent multivariate statistical analysis, revealing distinctive host and microbial metabolome patterns between the C57J and the C57N strain. Many taurine-conjugated bile acids (TBAs) were significantly elevated in the cecum and decreased in liver samples from the C57J phenotype likely displaying different energy utilization behavior by the bacterial community and the host. Furthermore, several metabolite groups could specifically be associated with the C57N phenotype involving fatty acids, eicosanoids and urobilinoids. The mass differences based metabolite network approach enabled to extend the range of known metabolites to important bile acids (BAs) and novel taurine conjugates specific for both strains. In summary, our study showed clear alterations of the metabolome in the gastrointestinal tract and liver within a HFD-induced obesity mouse model in relation to the host-microbial nutritional adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2380-2396
Number of pages17
JournalISME Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • 16S-rRNA amplicon pyrosequencing
  • Bile acids
  • Gut microbiome
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Obesity


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