Health and saliva microbiomes of a semi-urbanized indigenous tribe in peninsular Malaysia [version 3; peer review: 2 approved]

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Background: The indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, also known as Orang Asli, have gradually been urbanized. A shift towards non-communicable diseases commonly associated with sedentary lifestyles have been reported in many tribes. This study engaged with a semi-urbanized Temiar tribe from Kampong Pos Piah, Perak, who are experiencing an epidemiological transition. Methods: Weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure, HbA1C and lipid levels were measured as indicators of cardio-metabolic health. DNA was extracted from saliva using salting-out method followed by PCR amplification of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene and sequencing on Illumina MiSeq. Microbiome analysis was conducted on Qiime v1.9. Statistical analysis was conducted using Qiime v1.9 and R. Results: The study revealed that 60.4% of the Temiar community were overweight/obese, with a higher prevalence among women. HbA1C levels showed that 45% of Temiar had pre-diabetes. Insulin resistance was identified in 21% of Temiar by using a surrogate marker, TG/HDL. In total, 56.5% of Temiar were pre-hypertensive, and the condition was prevalent across all age-groups. The saliva microbiome profiles of Temiar revealed significant differences by gender, BMI, abdominal obesity as well as smoking status. The relative abundance of the genus Bifidobacterium was increased in men whereas the genera Prevotella, Capnocytophaga, Leptotrichia, Neisseria and Streptococcus were increased in women. Proteobacteria was significantly depleted in smokers. Conclusions: Temiar from Pos Piah had a high prevalence of cardio-metabolic risks, including general and abdominal obesity, pre-diabetes, prehypertension and hypertension. This phenomenon has not been previously reported in this tribe. The saliva microbiome profiles were significantly different for individuals of different gender, BMI, abdominal obesity and smoking status.




Yeo, L. F., Aghakhanian, F. F., Tan, J. S. Y., Gan, H. M., & Phipps, M. E. (2019). Health and saliva microbiomes of a semi-urbanized indigenous tribe in peninsular Malaysia [version 3; peer review: 2 approved]. F1000Research, 8.

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