Authors: Andrea Fontana, Concetta Panebianco, Andrea Picchianti-Diamanti, Bruno Laganà, Duccio Cavalieri, Adele Potenza, Riccardo Pracella, Elena Binda, Massimiliano Copetti and Valerio Pazienza

Institutions:

  • Unit of Biostatistics, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Division of Gastroenterology, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sant’Andrea University Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
  • Department of Biology, University of Florence, 50019 Florence, Italy
  • Dietetic and Clinical Nutrition Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Cancer Stem Cells Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

Publication: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Date: October 2019

Full paper: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/21/4065

Abstract:

Background and aims: Microbiota heterogeneity among humans is mainly due to genetic background, age, dietary habits, lifestyle and local environments. In this study we investigated whether the gut microbiota profile of Italian healthy volunteers could differ based on their geographical origin. Materials and Methods: 16S rRNA gene sequencing was employed to analyze the gut microbiota of 31 healthy volunteers from three different Italian regions: Apulia (South), Lazio (Center) and Lombardy (North). Results: Differences in microbiota composition were detected when the study participants were grouped by their region of origin and when they were classified based on age classes (p-values < 0.05). Also species richness was significantly different both according to Italian Regions (median richness: 177.8 vs. 140.7 vs. 168.0 in Apulia, Lazio and Lombardy; p < 0.001) and according to age classes (median richness: 140.1 vs. 177.8 vs. 160.0 in subjects < 32, 32–41 and > 41 years; p < 0.001), whereas the Shannon index and beta diversity did not change. Conclusions: This study identified differences in the gut microbiota composition and richness among individuals with the same ethnicity coming from three different Italian regions. Our results underline the importance of studies on population-specific variations in human microbiota composition leading to geographically tailored approaches to microbiota engineering.