Gut Microbiota Profiles Differ among Individuals Depending on Their Region of Origin: An Italian Pilot Study

Andrea Fontana, Concetta Panebianco, Andrea Picchianti-Diamanti, Bruno Laganà, Duccio Cavalieri, Adele Potenza, Riccardo Pracella, Elena Binda, Massimiliano Copetti, Valerio Pazienza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Microbiota heterogeneity among humans is mainly due to genetic background, age, dietary habits, lifestyle and local environments. In this study we investigated whether the gut microbiota profile of Italian healthy volunteers could differ based on their geographical origin. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 16S rRNA gene sequencing was employed to analyze the gut microbiota of 31 healthy volunteers from three different Italian regions: Apulia (South), Lazio (Center) and Lombardy (North). RESULTS: Differences in microbiota composition were detected when the study participants were grouped by their region of origin and when they were classified based on age classes (p-values < 0.05). Also species richness was significantly different both according to Italian Regions (median richness: 177.8 vs. 140.7 vs. 168.0 in Apulia, Lazio and Lombardy; p < 0.001) and according to age classes (median richness: 140.1 vs. 177.8 vs. 160.0 in subjects < 32, 32-41 and > 41 years; p < 0.001), whereas the Shannon index and beta diversity did not change. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified differences in the gut microbiota composition and richness among individuals with the same ethnicity coming from three different Italian regions. Our results underline the importance of studies on population-specific variations in human microbiota composition leading to geographically tailored approaches to microbiota engineering.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Oct 23 2019


  • dysbiosis
  • eubiosis
  • geographical location
  • microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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