Unique Gut Bacteria with Deep Therapeutic Benefit Potential

Since its discovery in 2012, the christensenella group of gut bacteria has continuously demonstrated high potential in the field of human health.


Christensenella minuta was discovered in 2012 by Professor Masami Morotomi (Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research, Japan) who isolated the small micro-organism from a healthy human donor.

In 2014, it was identified as the most heritable bacterial taxon in humans and was found to be significantly reduced in obese European individuals (Goodrich et al. 2014).

These observations were rapidly confirmed in an independent study in 2015 (Fu et al. 2015). In addition, high levels of C. minuta in the 2015 cohort were associated with reduced circulating levels of triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol (also known as “good” cholesterol).

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This association was recently validated in a large Dutch cohort of more than 2000 people where Christensenellaceae were consistently associated with low VLDL (“bad cholesterol”), high HDL (“good cholesterol”) and low serum triglycerides (Vojinovic et al. 2019).

Disappearance of C. minuta bacteria has also been associated with other conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), both with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (Pascal et al. 2017, Kummen et al. 2017, Zakrzewski et al. 2018), Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) (Kummen et al. 2017) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (Pozuelo et al. 2015). 

Although many questions remain to be explored, there is an increasing body of evidence that Christensenellaceae play a major role in the development of a healthy intestinal microbiome and is absent in many pathological conditions. Thus, it bears high potential to be a source of innovative treatment for multiple diseases.

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