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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Jan 1;242(1):81-6.

Correlation between faecal microbial community structure and cholesterol-to-coprostanol conversion in the human gut.

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Unité d'Ecologie et Physiologie du Système Digestif, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Bâtiment 405, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Intensity of the cholesterol-to-coprostanol conversion in the intestine, as assessed by the coprostanol-to-cholesterol ratio in faeces, was found highly variable among 15 human volunteers, ranging from absent to almost complete cholesterol conversion. The number of coprostanoligenic bacteria in the same faecal samples, as estimated by the most probable number method, was found to be less than 10(6) cellsg-1 of fresh stools in the low-to-inefficient converters and at least 10(8) cellsg-1 of fresh stools in the highest converters, indicating that the population level of cultivable faecal coprostanoligenic bacteria correlated with the intensity of cholesterol-to-coprostanol conversion in the human gut. Microbial communities of the samples were profiled by temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TTGE) of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Dendrogram analysis of the TTGE profiles using the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient and a unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) algorithm clearly separated banding patterns from low-to-inefficient and high converters in two different clusters suggesting a relationship between TTGE profiles and coprostanoligenic activity. Principal components analysis further demonstrated that a large subset of bands rather than some individual bands contributed to this clustering.

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