Intestinal microbiology shapes population health impacts of diet and lifestyle risk exposures in Torres Strait Islander communities

Fredrick M. Mobegi, Lex Ex Leong, Fintan Thompson, Sean M. Taylor, Linton R. Harriss, Jocelyn M. Choo, Steven L. Taylor, Steve L. Wesselingh, Robyn McDermott, Kerry L. Ivey, Geraint B. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Poor diet and lifestyle exposures are implicated in substantial global increases in non-communicable disease burden in low-income, remote, and Indigenous communities. This observational study investigated the contribution of the fecal microbiome to influence host physiology in two Indigenous communities in the Torres Strait Islands: Mer, a remote island where a traditional diet predominates, and Waiben a more accessible island with greater access to takeaway food and alcohol. Counterintuitively, disease markers were more pronounced in Mer residents. However, island-specific differences in disease risk were explained, in part, by microbiome traits. The absence of Alistipes onderdonkii, for example, significantly (p=0.014) moderated island-specific patterns of systolic blood pressure in multivariate-adjusted models. We also report mediatory relationships between traits of the fecal metagenome, disease markers, and risk exposures. Understanding how intestinal microbiome traits influence response to disease risk exposures is critical for the development of strategies that mitigate the growing burden of cardiometabolic disease in these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58407
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020


  • cardiometabolic disease
  • chronic inflammatory disease
  • epidemiology
  • global health
  • gut microbiome
  • human
  • indigenous health
  • infectious disease
  • metagenomics
  • microbiology
  • risk exposures

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