Interindividual variability in the human metabolism of ellagic acid: Contribution of Gordonibacter to urolithin production

Maria Romo-Vaquero and colleagues from the CEBAS-CSIC(ES) have examined the role of Gordonibacter and/or other human gut bacteria in human urolithin phenotypes.

Romo-Vaquero and colleagues investigated both the qualitative and quantitative contribution of Gordonibacter in individuals. The results suggest that the relative abundance of some bacteria, such as Gordonibacter spp., could modify the metabolic phenotype of individuals.

Ellagitannins, like all polyphenols are hydrolysed in the gut, and the ellagic acid released is metabolised into urolithins by gut microbiota. Gordonibacter spp. produce urolithins from ellagic acid in pure culture and these bacteria have been isolated from human faeces indicating they are present in the human gut. Understanding the role of Gordonibacter and the way they interact with ellagic acid might lead to the development of pre- and probiotics or synbiotics to increase their numbers and the potential health benefits associated with increased urolithins.

Further research is needed to ascertain how these bacterial populations might be increased safely and if this would improve ellagic acid metabolism in vivo.

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Highlights:

  1. The relationship between Gordonibacter and urolithin-A found in vitro was confirmed in vivo
  2. Urolithin-A was positively correlated with Gordonibacter in faeces whereas excretion of isourolithin-A and/or urolithin-B was inversely correlated to both
  3. Identification and characterisation of gut bacteria could be the key to developing new pro- and prebiotics or synbiotics with specific health benefits