The Host Shapes the Gut Microbiota via Fecal MicroRNA

May 1, 2016
Liu, S. et al. The Host Shapes the Gut Microbiota via Fecal MicroRNA. Cell Host & Microbe19, 32–43 (2016).

This paper identifies MiRNAs within rat and human stool samples. This is one of the first studies to analyze miRNAs within fecal samples.
Introduction: (I'm defining MiRNA here so I can look up the definition later) MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs, averaging 18-23 nucleotides in length, that function within the cytoplasm of cells. This pilot study was done to investigate the existence of functional miRNAs within areas of the gut and fecal samples.
Methods: Human and mice fecal samples (for mice samples were also collected in different areas of the host's gut) were collected and profiled for 566 mouse and 800 human miRNAs using a Nanostring Ncounter analysis platform. Comparisons were made between:
  • The top 50 abundant miRNAs between the mouse and human fecal samples.
  • Student's t-test with the appropriate corrections were used between the mice samples among the variable spatial sites and germ free and colonized fecal matter.
  • Principal Components Analysis was used comparing the spatial gut samples in mice and the GF and colonized fecal content.