The role of health behaviour and lifestyle in immunometabolism and host-microbe interaction

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Keohane, David M.
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University College Cork
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Introduction: Health behaviour relates to a broad category of health directed activities and actions that affect wellbeing and mortality. Health behaviour patterns change rapidly with industrialisation, consequently increasing the prevalence of lifestyle related illness. This thesis investigates the role of health behaviour and lifestyle in unique populations that engage in extremes of diet, physical activity and environment and explores the consequences of these behaviours on immunometabolism and the health and functionality of the gut microbiome. Methods: Contrasting study populations were investigated using observational and prospective methods. In the first population, comparative metagenomics were used to explore the gut microbiome and metabolic consequences of rapid industrialisation and enforced lifestyle change. The study also separated diet and lifestyle effects from genetic and geographic influences. The second study population prospectively investigated the influence of physical activity on gut microbiome structure and function as well as the sustained inflammatory responses to exercise. Results: Minority populations with traditional lifestyles can retain a microbiota akin to that of non-industrialized societies. This difference is driven by non-dietary factors and enforced lifestyle changes which are proportionally linked with microbiome-related metabolic risk of disease. The thesis also demonstrates that endurance physical activity increases gut microbial diversity, increases known butyrate producing gut microbiota and up-regulates the metabolic potential for specific microbial functional gene products. Conclusion: This thesis offers a new prospective on composite health behaviours and their influence on the gut microbiome and metabolic health. The findings have implications for evidence-informed health behaviour policy and promotion.
Health behaviour , Gut microbiome , Lifestyle , Metabolic health
Keohane, D. M. 2021. The role of health behaviour and lifestyle in immunometabolism and host-microbe interaction. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.