Objective: Individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes differ from lean and healthy individuals in their abundance of certain gut microbial species and microbial gene richness. Abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila, a mucin-degrading bacterium, has been inversely associated with bodyfat mass and glucose intolerance in mice, but more evidence is needed in humans. The impact of diet and weight loss on this bacterial species is unknown. Our objective was to evaluate the association between fecal A. muciniphila abundance, fecal microbiome gene richness, diet, host characteristics, and their changes after calorie restriction (CR).
Design: The intervention consisted of a 6-week CR period followed by a 6-week weight stabilization (WS) diet in overweight and obese adults (N=49, including 41 women). Fecal A. muciniphila abundance, fecal microbial gene richness, diet and bioclinical parameters were measured at baseline and after CR and WS.
Results: At baseline A. muciniphila was inversely related to fasting glucose, waist-to-hip ratio, and subcutaneous adipocyte diameter. Subjects with higher gene richness and A. muciniphila abundance exhibited the healthiest metabolic status, particularly in fasting plasma glucose, plasma triglycerides and body fat distribution. Individuals with higher baseline A. muciniphila displayed greater improvement in insulin sensitivity markers and other clinical parameters after CR. A. muciniphila was associated with microbial species known to be related to health.
Conclusion: A. muciniphila is associated with a healthier metabolic status and better clinicaloutcomes after CR in overweight/obese adults, however the interaction between gut microbiota ecology and A. muciniphila has to be taken into account.