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Shifts in the bacterial community of saliva give insights on the relationship between obesity and oral microbiota in adolescents


The current study aimed at the determination of the impact of obesity on the salivary microbiome in adolescents. Sixty subjects ranging 14–17 years old were enrolled (obese: n = 30–50% females, and normal weight: n = 30–50% females). Stimulated saliva was collected for denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) band patterns and massive 16S rRNA gene sequencing using the Ion Torrent platform. Overall, data analysis revealed that male subjects harbored a higher diverse salivary microbiome, defined by a significant higher richness (32.48 versus 26.74) and diversity (3.36 versus 3.20), higher Simpson values (0.96 versus 0.95) and distinct bacterial community structure considering either sex or condition (p < 0.05). Bacterial community fingerprinting analysis in human saliva showed a positive correlation with increased body mass index (BMI) in adolescents. Veillonella, Haemophilus and Prevotella occurrence was found to be affected by BMI, whereas Neisseria and Rothia occurrence was significantly impacted by sex in obese subjects. Our findings suggest that male and female adolescents may harbor a naturally distinct salivary microbiota and that obesity may specifically have an impact on their oral bacterial community. The potential dysbiotic oral microbiome in obese adolescents raises new insights on the etiology and prevention of future conditions in these populations.

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Data availability

Sequencing data are available for download at Mg-Rast (https://metagenomics.anl.gov/) under the job id—395949.


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The authors thank Embrapa environment for the sequencing (Ion Torrent) procedure support in the name of Prof. Dr. Itamar Soares de Melo and PhD. Rodrigo Gouveia Taketani.


The authors thank the funding support of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP Grants #2016/02942-1, #2012/04492-2 and #2014/24804-4) and National Research Council (CNPq Grant #42344/2013-3).

Author information

Conceived or designed the study: KRK, FDA, PMC, FHN; performed research: PAMA, PAG, DAS APP; analyzed data: PAMA; contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: KRK, PMC, FDA, FHN; building and editing graphical arts: PAMA and AJS; wrote the paper: PAMA, PAG, DAS, AJS, APP, KRK, PMC, FDA, FHN.

Correspondence to Pedro Avelino Maia de Andrade.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Subjects provided written consent for enrollment and saliva collection. The Ethics Committee at the Piracicaba Dental School (protocol #152/2014) approved the study protocol and the ethical standards.

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de Andrade, P.A.M., Giovani, P.A., Araujo, D.S. et al. Shifts in the bacterial community of saliva give insights on the relationship between obesity and oral microbiota in adolescents. Arch Microbiol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00203-020-01817-y

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  • Oral microbiota
  • Saliva
  • Obesity
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Next-generation 16S rRNA gene sequencing