• Distinct microbiome composition and metabolome exists across subgroups of elite Irish athletes

      O'Donovan, Ciara M.; Madigan, Sharon M.; Garcia-Perez, Isabel; Rankin, Alan; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; National Institute for Health Research; SFI/12/RC/2273; 13/SIRG/2160; et al. (2019-09-18)
      Objectives: The gut microbiome has begun to be characterised in athlete groups, albeit, to date, only across a subset of sports. This study aimed to determine if the gut microbiome and metabolome differed across sports classification groups (SCGs) among elite Irish athletes, many of whom were participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Methods: Faecal and urine samples were collected from 37 international level athletes. Faecal samples were prepared for shotgun metagenomic sequencing and faecal and urine samples underwent metabolomic profiling. Results: Differences were observed in the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiome of athletes across SCGs. The microbiomes of athletes participating in sports with a high dynamic component were the most distinct compositionally (greater differences in proportions of species), while those of athletes participating in sports with high dynamic and static components were the most functionally distinct (greater differences in functional potential). Additionally, both microbial (faecal) and human (urine) derived metabolites were found to vary between SCGs. In particular cis-aconitate, succinic acid and lactate, in urine samples, and creatinine, in faeces, were found to be significantly different between groups. These differences were evident despite the absence of significant differences in diet, as determined using food frequency questionnaires, which were translated into nutrient intake values using FETA. Conclusions: Differences in the gut microbiome and metabolome between groups, in the absence of dietary changes, indicate a role for training load or type as a contributory factor. Further exploration of this hypothesis has the potential to benefit athletes, aspiring athletes and the general public.
    • Distinct microbiome composition and metabolome exists across subgroups of elite Irish athletes

      O’Donovan, Ciara M.; Madigan, Sharon M.; Garcia-Perez, Isabel; Rankin, Alan; O’ Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; National Institute for Health Research; SFI/12/RC/2273; 13/SIRG/2160; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2019-09-18)
      Objectives: The gut microbiome has begun to be characterised in athlete groups, albeit, to date, only across a subset of sports. This study aimed to determine if the gut microbiome and metabolome differed across sports classification groups (SCGs) among elite Irish athletes, many of whom were participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Methods: Faecal and urine samples were collected from 37 international level athletes. Faecal samples were prepared for shotgun metagenomic sequencing and faecal and urine samples underwent metabolomic profiling. Results: Differences were observed in the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiome of athletes across SCGs. The microbiomes of athletes participating in sports with a high dynamic component were the most distinct compositionally (greater differences in proportions of species), while those of athletes participating in sports with high dynamic and static components were the most functionally distinct (greater differences in functional potential). Additionally, both microbial (faecal) and human (urine) derived metabolites were found to vary between SCGs. In particular cis-aconitate, succinic acid and lactate, in urine samples, and creatinine, in faeces, were found to be significantly different between groups. These differences were evident despite the absence of significant differences in diet, as determined using food frequency questionnaires, which were translated into nutrient intake values using FETA. Conclusions: Differences in the gut microbiome and metabolome between groups, in the absence of dietary changes, indicates a role for training load or type as a contributory factor. Further exploration of this hypothesis has the potential to benefit athletes, aspiring athletes and the general public.
    • Exercise and the microbiota

      O'Sullivan, Orla; Cronin, Owen; Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; Molloy, Micheal G; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 24/03/2015)
      Sedentary lifestyle is linked with poor health, most commonly obesity and associated disorders, the corollary being that exercise offers a preventive strategy. However, the scope of exercise biology extends well beyond energy expenditure and has emerged as a great ‘polypill’, which is safe, reliable and cost-effective not only in disease prevention but also treatment. Biological mechanisms by which exercise influences homeostasis are becoming clearer and involve multi-organ systemic adaptations. Most of the elements of a modern lifestyle influence the indigenous microbiota but few studies have explored the effect of increased physical activity. While dietary responses to exercise obscure the influence of exercise alone on gut microbiota, professional athletes operating at the extremes of performance provide informative data. We assessed the relationship between extreme levels of exercise, associated dietary habits and gut microbiota composition, and discuss potential mechanisms by which exercise may exert a direct or indirect influence on gut microbiota.
    • Instances of altered gut microbiomes among Irish cricketers over periods of travel in the lead up to the 2016 World Cup: A sequencing analysis

      O'Donovan, Ciara M.; Connor, Brendan; Madigan, Sharon; Cotter, Paul D.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; 13/SIRG/2160; 11/PI/1137 (Elsevier, 2020-01-11)
      BackgroundChanges and stresses experienced during travel have the potential to impact the gut microbiome, with travel implicated in the spread of antibiotic resistance genes across continents. The possibility of gut microbiome-mediated negative impacts arising from travel, and consequences for peak performance, would be of particular concern for elite athletes. MethodsFaecal samples were collected from male (N = 14) and female (N = 7) cricket players during the build-up to the 2016 Cricket World Cup. Baseline and post-travel samples were collected from all participants and subjected to 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Samples from a subset of participants (N = 4) were also analysed by shotgun metagenomic sequencing. ResultsAnalysis revealed a single travel time point as having the potential to have an impact on the gut microbiome. Reductions in alpha diversity following travel were observed, accompanied by shifts in the taxonomic profile of the gut microbiome. Antibiotic resistance and virulence genes were also identified as undergoing changes following travel. ConclusionsThis study reveals that periods of travel, in particular following gastrointestinal distress, may result in gut microbiome disruption. While this analysis was completed in athletes, the findings are applicable to all travelling individuals and considerations should be made surrounding travel in an attempt to reduce these changes.