Gut microbiome responds to alteration in female sex hormone status and exacerbates metabolic dysfunction

Tzu Wen L. Cross, Abigayle M.R. Simpson, Ching Yen Lin, Natasha M. Hottmann, Aadra P. Bhatt, Samuel J. Pellock, Erik R. Nelson, Brett R. Loman, Matthew A. Wallig, Eugenio I. Vivas, Jan Suchodolski, Matthew R. Redinbo, Federico E. Rey, Kelly S. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women are at significantly greater risk of metabolic dysfunction after menopause, which subsequently leads to numerous chronic illnesses. The gut microbiome is associated with obesity and metabolic dysfunction, but its interaction with female sex hormone status and the resulting impact on host metabolism remains unclear. Herein, we characterized inflammatory and metabolic phenotypes as well as the gut microbiome associated with ovariectomy and high-fat diet feeding, compared to gonadal intact and low-fat diet controls. We then performed fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) using gnotobiotic mice to identify the impact of ovariectomy-associated gut microbiome on inflammatory and metabolic outcomes. We demonstrated that ovariectomy led to greater gastrointestinal permeability and inflammation of the gut and metabolic organs, and that a high-fat diet exacerbated these phenotypes. Ovariectomy also led to alteration of the gut microbiome, including greater fecal β-glucuronidase activity. However, differential changes in the gut microbiome only occurred when fed a low-fat diet, not the high-fat diet. Gnotobiotic mice that received the gut microbiome from ovariectomized mice fed the low-fat diet had greater weight gain and hepatic gene expression related to metabolic dysfunction and inflammation than those that received intact sham control-associated microbiome. These results indicate that the gut microbiome responds to alterations in female sex hormone status and contributes to metabolic dysfunction. Identifying and developing gut microbiome-targeted modulators to regulate sex hormones may be useful therapeutically in remediating menopause-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2295429
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • Gut microbiota
  • estrogen
  • menopause
  • metabolic health
  • ovarian deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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