Gut microbiota composition strongly correlates to peripheral insulin sensitivity in obese men but not in women

J. Most, G. H. Goossens, D. Reijnders, E. E. Canfora, J. Penders, E. E. Blaak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Gut microbiota composition may play an important role in the development of obesity-related comorbidities. However, only few studies have investigated gender-differences in microbiota composition and gender-specific associations between microbiota or microbial products and insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp), body composition (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), substrate oxidation (indirect calorimetry), systemic inflammatory markers and microbiota composition (PCR) were determined in male (n=15) and female (n=14) overweight and obese subjects. Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes-ratio was higher in men than in women (P=0.001). Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes-ratio was inversely related to peripheral insulin sensitivity only in men (men: P=0.003, women: P=0.882). This association between Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes-ratio and peripheral insulin sensitivity did not change after adjustment for dietary fibre and saturated fat intake, body composition, fat oxidation and markers of inflammation. Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes-ratio was not associated with hepatic insulin sensitivity. Men and women differ in microbiota composition and its impact on insulin sensitivity, implying that women might be less sensitive to gut microbiota-induced metabolic aberrations than men. This trial was registered at as NCT02381145.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-562
Number of pages6
JournalBeneficial Microbes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • insulin sensitivity
  • Bacteroidetes
  • Firmicutes
  • obesity
  • fat oxidation
  • gender

Cite this