Menu Close

Gut Microbiota and Host Plasma Metabolites in Association with Blood Pressure in Chinese Adults


Wang, Yiqing; Wang, Huijun; Howard, Annie Green; Tsilimigras, Matthew C. B.; Avery, Christy L.; Meyer, Katie A.; Sha, Wei; Sun, Shan; Zhang, Jiguo; & Su, Chang, et al. (2021). Gut Microbiota and Host Plasma Metabolites in Association with Blood Pressure in Chinese Adults. Hypertension, 77(2), 706-717. PMCID: PMC7856046


Animal studies have revealed gut microbial and metabolic pathways of blood pressure (BP) regulation, yet few epidemiological studies have collected microbiota and metabolomics data in the same individuals. In a population-based, Chinese cohort who did not report antihypertension medication use (30-69 years, 54% women), thus minimizing BP treatment effects, we examined multivariable-adjusted (eg, diet, physical activity, smoking, kidney function), cross-sectional associations between measures of gut microbiota (16S rRNA [ribosomal ribonucleic acid], N=1003), and plasma metabolome (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, N=434) with systolic (SBP, mean [SD]=126.0 [17.4] mm Hg) and diastolic BP (DBP [80.7 (10.7) mm Hg]). We found that the overall microbial community assessed by principal coordinate analysis varied by SBP and DBP (permutational multivariate ANOVA P<0.05). To account for strong correlations across metabolites, we first examined metabolite patterns derived from principal component analysis and found that a lipid pattern was positively associated with SBP (linear regression coefficient [95% CI] per 1 SD pattern score: 2.23 [0.72-3.74] mm Hg) and DBP (1.72 [0.81-2.63] mm Hg). Among 1104 individual metabolites, 34 and 39 metabolites were positively associated with SBP and DBP (false discovery rate-adjusted linear model P<0.05), respectively, including linoleate, palmitate, dihomolinolenate, 8 sphingomyelins, 4 acyl-carnitines, and 2 phosphatidylinositols. Subsequent pathway analysis showed that metabolic pathways of long-chain saturated acylcarnitine, phosphatidylinositol, and sphingomyelins were associated with SBP and DBP (false discovery rate-adjusted Fisher exact test P<0.05). Our results suggest potential roles of microbiota and metabolites in BP regulation to be followed up in prospective and clinical studies.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published


Journal Title



Wang, Yiqing
Wang, Huijun
Howard, Annie Green
Tsilimigras, Matthew C. B.
Avery, Christy L.
Meyer, Katie A.
Sha, Wei
Sun, Shan
Zhang, Jiguo
Su, Chang
Wang, Zhihong
Fodor, Anthony A.
Zhang, Bing
Gordon-Larsen, Penny



Data Set/Study

China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)