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Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 16;5:9131. doi: 10.1038/srep09131.

Metagenomic sequencing reveals altered metabolic pathways in the oral microbiota of sailors during a long sea voyage.

Author information

1
Center of Basic Medical Sciences, Navy General Hospital, Beijing, China.
2
Third School of Clinical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
3
School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
4
1] Center of Basic Medical Sciences, Navy General Hospital, Beijing, China [2] Third School of Clinical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China [3] State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.

Abstract

Seafaring is a difficult occupation, and sailors face higher health risks than individuals on land. Commensal microbiota participates in the host immune system and metabolism, reflecting the host's health condition. However, the interaction mechanisms between the microbiota and the host's health condition remain unclear. This study reports the influence of long sea voyages on human health by utilising a metagenomic analysis of variation in the microbiota of the buccal mucosa. Paired samples collected before and after a sea-voyage were analysed. After more than 120 days of ocean sailing, the oral microbial diversity of sailors was reduced by approximately 5 fold, and the levels of several pathogens (e.g., Streptococcus pneumonia) increased. Moreover, 69.46% of the identified microbial sequences were unclassified microbiota. Notably, several metabolic pathways were dramatically decreased, including folate biosynthesis, carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid pathways. Clinical examination of the hosts confirmed the identified metabolic changes, as demonstrated by decreased serum levels of haemoglobin and folic acid, a decreased neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, and increased levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and homocysteine, which are consistent with the observed microbial variation. Our study suggests that oral mucosal bacteria may reflect host health conditions and could provide approaches for improving the health of sailors.

PMID:
26154405
PMCID:
PMC4360635
DOI:
10.1038/srep09131
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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