Home Medizin Der sozioökonomische Status prägt das Darmmikrobiom in der vielfältigen US-Bevölkerung

Der sozioökonomische Status prägt das Darmmikrobiom in der vielfältigen US-Bevölkerung

von NFI Redaktion

Previous studies have reported a link between socioeconomic status (SES) and the gut microbiome, with various biological mechanisms potentially contributing to this connection. A recent study published in NPJ Biofilms and Microbiomes explores the impact of SES on the gut microbiome.

Study: Sociobiome – The Socioeconomic Status of the Individual and the Neighborhood Influences the Gut Microbiome of a Multiethnic Population in the USA. Image Credit: Maciej Bledowski / Shutterstock.com


There is a positive correlation between lower SES and mortality associated with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. The biological mechanisms leading to health disparities related to SES, however, remain unclear.

Lower SES is often associated with unhealthy eating habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, and limited access to medical care. These unhealthy SES-associated behaviors impact the development of chronic diseases and influence the gut microbiome.

There is ample evidence of the influence of maternal and family SES on the gut microbiome of infants and children. Additionally, twins who experience different SES in adulthood exhibit differences in the composition of their gut microbiome. However, this data typically comes from small cohorts, necessitating larger samples with information on area-based measures from racially diverse population groups to confirm these results.

About the Study

Data were obtained from 825 participants with diverse backgrounds in terms of birth and race from the Food and Microbiome Longitudinal Investigation (FAMIli) study. SES was derived by identifying individual and neighborhood characteristics.

The researchers were primarily interested in investigating whether lower SES is associated with the diversity and composition of the overall gut microbiota. Heterogeneity analyses were conducted to explore the role of race/ethnicity and origin in the development of the gut microbiome.

Study Results

Within the study cohort, 36.7% were male, with an average age of 59.6 years. Approximately, 38% of participants were non-Hispanic Whites, 34.8% non-Hispanic Asians, 10.8% non-Hispanic Blacks, and 16.7% Hispanic Americans.

Approximately 48% of the cohort were born abroad, while 25% had a high school diploma or lower education. SES at the neighborhood and individual levels correlated with race/ethnicity and birth background.

A stronger association was observed between lower individual education levels and microbial α-diversity, represented by the number of phylogenetic tree units within the sample. Participants from more disadvantaged neighborhoods did not show significant α-diversity. Furthermore, β-diversity or overall compositional differences in the gut microbiome correlated with SES indicators at the neighborhood and individual levels.

Ten bacterial species were differentially present based on SES indicators. Some taxa associated with low SES included Collinsella sp000434535, Catenibacterium sp000437715, Prevotella copri, Prevotella stercorea, and Dorea_A formigenerans.

Monoglobus pectinilyticus, Lawsonibacter asaccharolyticus, Dysosmobacter welbionis, and Frisingicoccus caecimuris were linked to high SES. Relatively, Dorea_A formicigenerans, Catenibacterium sp000437715, and Prevotella copri were associated with Social Deprivation Index (SDI) values and neighborhood income. Occupation and SDI scores were associated with Dysosmobacter welbionis.

The abundance of Bacteroides and Prevotella, both known biomarkers for diet and lifestyle, was compared. Consistent with previous reports, a higher prevalence of Prevotella and a lower prevalence of Bacteroides were associated with low SES. These differences could be attributed to varying dietary habits involving high consumption of animal products compared to carbohydrates.

Previous investigations have reported on the potential role of Dysosmobacter welbionis in preventing diet-related diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disorders in mice. In the present study, a decreased frequency of Dysosmobacter welbionis was observed in participants with low SES, which could explain negative health consequences such as diabetes and metabolic disorders in this group.

Hispanic and Black participants were more likely to have lower SES, as reflected in parameters related to education, occupation, neighborhood income, and deprivation. Participants born in the USA had higher SES compared to foreign-born participants. With respect to race/ethnicity, none of the SES indicators showed pronounced heterogeneity. However, β-diversity varied significantly among ethnic/racial groups.


A significant association between the gut microbiome and SES was observed in a diverse population. Differences in SES were linked to the frequency of bacterial species, α-diversity, β-diversity, and microbial functions. Overall, the study results underscore the important role of SES in influencing the composition of the gut microbiome.

The term „sociobiome“ describes the composition of the gut microbiota of residents in a specific geographical location. Social minorities are more susceptible to negative health consequences and environmental influences. Future studies should consider the broader social context in addition to SES, while identifying microbial factors that influence health disparities.

Despite the relatively large size of the study cohort, there was an unequal distribution of SES across ethnic/racial groups. Additionally, the population distribution in terms of the proportion of White, Asian, Black, and Hispanic individuals did not reflect the general American population; therefore, caution should be exercised in generalizing the study results. There may also have been residual biases, although a variety of important lifestyle variables were considered.

Journal Reference:

  • Kwak, S., Usyk, M., Beggs, D., et al. (2024). Sociobiome – The Socioeconomic Status of the Individual and the Neighborhood Influences the Gut Microbiome of a Multiethnic Population in the USA. Npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 10(1);1-10. doi:10.1038/s41522-024-00491-y

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