A high salt diet modulates the gut microbiota and short chain fatty acids production in a salt-sensitive hypertension rat model

Ariel Bier, Tzipi Braun, Rawan Khasbab, Ayelet Di Segni, Grossman Ehud, Yael Haberman, Avshalom Leibowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emerging data indicate a correlation between gut microbial composition and cardiovascular disease including hypertension. The host’s diet greatly affects microbial composition and metabolite production. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are products of microbial fermentation, which can be utilized by the host. It has been suggested that SCFAs play a pivotal role as mediators in a microbiome host: microbial interactions occur in health and disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a high salt diet (HSD) on microbial variation and to determine whether this effect is accompanied by an alteration in fecal SCFAs. To this end, Dahl salt-sensitive rats were divided into two groups (n = 10 each): (A) Control: fed regular chow; and (B) Fed HSD. High-throughput pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was used for microbiome characterizing. Chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to measure the levels of SCFAs: acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, and isobutyric acid in fecal samples. Differences in microbial composition were noted between groups. Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) principal coordinate 1 (PC1) primarily separated controls from the HSD. Four taxa displayed significant differences between HSD and controls. Taxa from the Erwinia genus, the Christensenellaceae and Corynebacteriaceae families, displayed an increased abundance in HSD versus control. In contrast, taxa from the Anaerostipes genus displayed a decreased abundance in HSD. We were able to identify seven unique taxa that were significantly associated with blood pressure. There was a significant difference in fecal acetic acid, as well as propionic and isobutyric acid, but not in the butyric acid composition between groups. Adding salt to a diet impacts the gut’s microbial composition, which may alter fecal SCFA production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1154
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


FundersFunder number
Gasner Foundation, Israel
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesP30DK078392
Tel Aviv University


    • Blood pressure
    • Microbiome
    • Salt
    • Short chain fatty acids


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