Gut microbiome composition in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is shaped by geographic relocation, environmental factors, and obesity

Robert C. Kaplan, Zheng Wang, Mykhaylo Usyk, Daniela Sotres-Alvarez, Martha L. Daviglus, Neil Schneiderman, Gregory A. Talavera, Marc D. Gellman, Bharat Thyagarajan, Jee Young Moon, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Daniel McDonald, Jessica S. Williams-Nguyen, Michael C. Wu, Kari E. North, Justin Shaffer, Christopher C. Sollecito, Qibin Qi, Carmen R. Isasi, Tao WangRob Knight, Robert D. Burk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Hispanics living in the USA may have unrecognized potential birthplace and lifestyle influences on the gut microbiome. We report a cross-sectional analysis of 1674 participants from four centers of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), aged 18 to 74 years old at recruitment. Results: Amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA gene V4 and fungal ITS1 fragments from self-collected stool samples indicate that the host microbiome is determined by sociodemographic and migration-related variables. Those who relocate from Latin America to the USA at an early age have reductions in Prevotella to Bacteroides ratios that persist across the life course. Shannon index of alpha diversity in fungi and bacteria is low in those who relocate to the USA in early life. In contrast, those who relocate to the USA during adulthood, over 45 years old, have high bacterial and fungal diversity and high Prevotella to Bacteroides ratios, compared to USA-born and childhood arrivals. Low bacterial diversity is associated in turn with obesity. Contrasting with prior studies, our study of the Latino population shows increasing Prevotella to Bacteroides ratio with greater obesity. Taxa within Acidaminococcus, Megasphaera, Ruminococcaceae, Coriobacteriaceae, Clostridiales, Christensenellaceae, YS2 (Cyanobacteria), and Victivallaceae are significantly associated with both obesity and earlier exposure to the USA, while Oscillospira and Anaerotruncus show paradoxical associations with both obesity and late-life introduction to the USA. Conclusions: Our analysis of the gut microbiome of Latinos demonstrates unique features that might be responsible for health disparities affecting Hispanics living in the USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number219
JournalGenome biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) is a collaborative study supported by contracts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to the University of North Carolina (HHSN268201300001I/N01-HC-65233), University of Miami (HHSN268201300004I/N01-HC-65234), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (HHSN268201300002I/N01-HC-65235), University of Illinois at Chicago – HHSN268201300003I/N01-HC-65236 Northwestern Univ), and San Diego State University (HHSN268201300005I/N01-HC-65237). The following Institutes/Centers/Offices have contributed to the HCHS/SOL through a transfer of funds to the NHLBI: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH Institution-Office of Dietary Supplements. Additional funding for the “Gut Origins of Latino Diabetes” (GOLD) ancillary study to HCHS/SOL was provided by 1R01MD011389-01 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. None of the funding agencies had a role in the design, conduct, interpretation, or reporting of this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Epidemiology
  • Hispanic population
  • Microbiome
  • Mycobiome
  • Obesity


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