Background: Emerging evidence suggests that human gut microbiota plays a critical role in maintaining physiological homeostasis, and gut dysbiosis is involved directly or indirectly in cardiovascular diseases including hypertension.
Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether there were sex-based compositional differences in gut microbiota of patients with hypertension.
Methods: Fecal samples were collected from male and female hypertensive patients, and healthy individuals from Xi’an, Shaanxi province of China. Touchdown PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) with primers specifically targeting V3 region of 16S rRNA, and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) were performed to characterize all the samples. High-throughput sequencing of the V3–V4 regions was performed on Illumina HiSeq 2500.
Results: Diversity and richness indices for the gut microbiome were compared among the four groups. The relative abundance of Firmicutes was found increased in hypertensive groups (both female and male patients) while that of Bacteroidetes was decreased in male hypertensive patients only, as compared to the healthy male subjects. The most differentially abundant bacterial taxa belonged to the genera Prevotella and Megasphaera in female hypertensive patients and Megamonas in male hypertensive patients. The female and male hypertensive patients also showed different dominant phylotypes.
Conclusion: These results demonstrated that there were sex-based differences in gut microbial composition of patients with hypertension. Our findings indicate Prevotella, Megasphaera and Megamonas as the potential sex-specific biomarkers of hypertension, and need to be further evaluated.