GeroScience. 2019-12-01; 41.6: 907-921.

Gastro-intestinal and oral microbiome signatures associated with healthy aging

Singh H, Torralba MG, Moncera KJ, DiLello L, Petrini J, Nelson KE, Pieper R

PMID: 31620923


The human oral and gut microbiomes influence health via competition for a distinct niche in the body with pathogens, via metabolic capabilities that increase host digestive capacity and generate compounds engaged in signaling pathways and modulation of immune system functions. Old age alters our metabolic and regenerative capacity. Following recruitment of 65 human subjects in the age range of 70 to 82, we discerned healthy aging (HA) and non-healthy aging (NHA) cohorts discordant in the occurrence of one or more major diseases: (1) cancer, (2) acute or chronic cardiovascular diseases, (3) acute or chronic pulmonary diseases, (4) diabetes, and (5) stroke or neurodegenerative disorders. We analyzed these cohorts' oral microbiomes (saliva) and gut microbiomes (stool) to assess diversity and identify microbial biomarkers for HA. In contrast to the gut microbiome where no change was observed, we found that the saliva microbiome had higher α-diversity in the HA compared with the NHA group. We observed the genus Akkermansia to be significantly more abundant in the gut microbiota of the HA group. Akkermansia muciniphila is a colonic mucin-degrading bacterium believed to have beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health, particularly in the context of diabetes and obesity. Erysipelotrichaceae UCG-003 was a taxon increased in abundance in the HA cohort. Streptococcus was the only genus observed to be significantly decreased in abundance in both the gut and oral microbiomes of the HA cohort compared with the NHA cohort. Our data support the notion that these microbes are potential probiotics to decrease the risks of non-healthy aging.