APR 16, 2024 3:38 PM PDT

Gut health: The Bacteria that Help with Cholesterol

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

The human gut microbiome, a complex ecosystem of microorganisms residing in our intestines, plays a crucial role in various aspects of human health, including metabolism, immune function, and disease susceptibility. Among the myriad functions attributed to gut bacteria, their involvement in cholesterol metabolism has garnered significant attention due to its implications for cardiovascular health. To put it into perspective, according to the National Institute of Health, over one third of adults in the United States have elevated LDL-C ("bad" cholesterol.) A recent study published in Cell explored this relationship between gut bacteria and cholesterol metabolism, focusing specifically on Oscillibacter bacteria.

The study was a part of the Framingham Heart Study, a multigenerational and ongoing cardiovascular clinical trial that has set the standard and paved the way for a lot of treatment regimens in cardiology. 

The study identified proteins in Oscillibacter bacteria that structurally resemble key enzymes involved in cholesterol metabolism pathways, such as cholesterol alpha-glucosyltransferase (CgT), IsmA, and translocator protein (TSPO). These enzymes are known to play crucial roles in cholesterol synthesis, conversion, and transport. The experiments demonstrated the ability of Oscillibacter isolates to metabolize cholesterol and produce cholesterol derivatives, highlighting the potential role of Oscillibacter in modulating host cholesterol levels and metabolism.

Understanding the microbial pathways involved in cholesterol metabolism holds promise for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for managing hypercholesterolemia and reducing cardiovascular disease risk. By targeting gut microbial cholesterol metabolism, researchers could pave the path to discover new medications for interventions aimed at improving human health outcomes.

Looking ahead, future research in this field could shed light on the mechanistic details of how Oscillibacter bacteria interact with host cholesterol metabolism and explore potential therapeutic interventions targeting gut microbial pathways. By harnessing the power of microbiome science, we may pave the way for innovative approaches to managing cardiovascular health and improving overall well-being.

Sources: National Institute of Health,  CellFramingham Heart Study

About the Author
Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
Greta holds her PharmD and is a writer at Labroots. She also has a strong background in neuroscience & psychology. When she is not working as a pharmacist or a writer, she enjoys fostering her creative initiatives such as traveling, working out, spending time at the beach, and cooking!
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...