Human oral, gut, and plaque microbiota in patients with atherosclerosis

Omry Koren, Aymé Spor, Jenny Felin, Frida Fåk, Jesse Stombaugh, Valentina Tremaroli, Carl Johan Behre, Rob Knight, Björn Fagerberg, Ruth E. Ley, Fredrik Bäckhed

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861 Scopus citations


Periodontal disease has been associated with atherosclerosis, suggesting that bacteria from the oral cavity may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the gutmicrobiotamay affect obesity,which is associatedwith atherosclerosis.Using qPCR,we showthat bacterialDNAwas present in the atherosclerotic plaque and that the amount of DNA correlated with the amount of leukocytes in the atherosclerotic plaque. To investigate themicrobial composition of atherosclerotic plaques and test the hypothesis that the oral or gut microbiotamay contribute to atherosclerosis in humans,we used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes to survey the bacterial diversity of atherosclerotic plaque, oral, and gut samples of 15 patientswith atherosclerosis, and oral and gut samples of healthy controls. We identified Chryseomonas in all atherosclerotic plaque samples, and Veillonella and Streptococcus in the majority. Interestingly, the combined abundances of Veillonella and Streptococcus in atherosclerotic plaques correlated with their abundance in the oral cavity. Moreover, several additional bacterial phylotypes were common to the atherosclerotic plaque and oral or gut samples within the same individual. Interestingly, several bacterial taxa in the oral cavity and the gut correlated with plasma cholesterol levels. Taken together, our findings suggest that bacteria from the oral cavity, and perhaps even the gut, may correlate with disease markers of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4592-4598
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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