Metabologenomics® Evaluation of Intestinal Environment
for Its Regulation

Presented by NHK enterprise 
 Movie supervised by Shinji Fukuda

The human gut is more densely populated with microorganisms than anywhere else on the planet. It is estimated that around a thousand different species of microorganisms living in the human gut, and they form a complex microorganism population called the "microbiota". The composition of the gut microbiota varies by dietary and lifestyle habits, among other factors, and therefore differs between individuals.

The gut microbiota not only live in the human gut, but also play large roles in maintaining human health. One of the most fundamental roles of the gut microbiota is in digestion; the gut microbiota strongly influence how ingested food or medicine is digested, absorbed and stimulates gastrointestinal cells. On the other hand, the substances produced by digestion, known as metabolites, also affect the composition and functions of the microbiota. Therefore, to evaluate the intestinal environment, it is important to understand both the composition of the gut microbiota and the availability of metabolites.

To this end, we established "Metabologenomics®", an integrative study of microbiota by "Metagenomics" and of metabolites by "Metabolomics".

Not only microbiota, but also metabolites

Some metabolites produced by the microorganisms in the gut can cause not only intestinal diseases, but also diseases in other organs through blood circulation. Moreover, the metabolites may differ depending on the composition of the gut microbiota because different species may have different processing functions owing to their different genomes.

A previous study reported that:

  1. 1. Even though the composition of the gut microbiota differs, their functions may be the same.
  2. 2. Even the same composition of the gut microbiota may show different metabolic functions depending on the environment . (Turnbaugh, PJ. et al., Nature 457:480, 2009)

These findings clearly suggest that evaluating the intestinal environment based on only the gut microbiota is insufficient. Therefore, we adopted Metabologenomics®, which provides an integrated analysis of the gut microbiota and metabolites to accurately evaluate the intestinal environment.

Collaborative Research and Development with Metabologenomics®