A joint effort between scientists from EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany) and the others partners from the European MetaHIT project have permit to describe that Humans can be split in different group based on their gut microbiota composition. Those groups, named enterotypes, are found across nations and continent. Their discovery, published in Nature Journal1, indicates the existence of a limited number of well-balanced host-microbial symbiotic states that might respond differently to diet and drug intake. Combining three different human gut microbiota datasets generated with different methodologies, the enterotypes are mostly driven by microbial composition and in particularly by Bacteroides, Prevotella and Clostridiales species.

“The enterotypes appear complex, are probably not driven by nutritional habits and cannot simply be explained by host properties such as age or BMI, although there are functional markers such as genes or modules that correlate remarkably well with individual features.” Arumugam, Raes et al.

Furthermore, enterotypes have to be taken in account for future clinical studies design as a new factor and effort should be put on functional analysis via gut microbes genes content which appears more promising to find strong biomarkers for diseases.

  1. Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Jeroen Raes, Eric Pelletier, Denis Le Paslier, Takuji Yamada, Gabriel R. Fernandes, Julien Tap, Thomas Bruls, Jean-Michel Batto, Marcelo Bertalan, Natalia Borruel, Francesc Casellas, Leyden Fernandez, Laurent Gautier, Torben Hansen, Masahira Hattori, Tetsuya Hayashi, Michiel Kleerebezem, Ken Kurokawa, Marion Leclerc, Florence Levenez, Chaysavanh Manichanh, H. Bjorn Nielsen, Trine Nielsen, Nicolas Pons, Julie Poulain, Junjie Qin, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Sebastian Tims, David Torrents, Edgardo Ugarte, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Jun Wang, Francisco Guarner, Oluf Pedersen Willem M. de Vos, Soren Brunak, Joel Doré, MetaHIT Consortium, Jean Weissenbach, S. Dusko Ehrlich, Peer Bork. Nature 2011.