Circulating androgen regulation by androgen-catabolizing gut bacteria in male mouse gut

Tsun Hsien Hsiao, Chia Hong Chou, Yi Lung Chen, Po Hsiang Wang, Guo Jie Brandon-Mong, Tzong Huei Lee, Tien Yu Wu, Po Ting Li, Chen Wei Li, Yi Li Lai, Yu Lin Tseng, Chao Jen Shih, Po Hao Chen, Mei Jou Chen, Yin Ru Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Abnormally high circulating androgen levels have been considered a causative factor for benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer in men. Recent animal studies on gut microbiome suggested that gut bacteria are involved in sex steroid metabolism; however, the underlying mechanisms and bacterial taxa remain elusive. Denitrifying betaproteobacteria Thauera spp. are metabolically versatile and often distributed in the animal gut. Thauera sp. strain GDN1 is an unusual betaproteobacterium capable of catabolizing androgen under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. We administered C57BL/6 mice (aged 7 weeks) with strain GDN1 through oral gavage. The strain GDN1 administration caused a minor increase in the relative abundance of Thauera (≤0.1%); however, it has profound effects on the host physiology and gut bacterial community. The results of our ELISA assay and metabolite profile analysis indicated an approximately 50% reduction in serum androgen levels in the strain GDN1-administered male mice. Moreover, androgenic ring-cleaved metabolites were detected in the fecal extracts of the strain GDN1-administered mice. Furthermore, our RT–qPCR results revealed the expression of the androgen catabolism genes in the gut of the strain GDN1-administered mice. We found that the administered strain GDN1 regulated mouse serum androgen levels, possibly because it blocked androgen recycling through enterohepatic circulation. This study discovered that sex steroids serve as a carbon source of gut bacteria; moreover, host circulating androgen levels may be regulated by androgen-catabolizing gut bacteria. Our data thus indicate the possible applicability of androgen-catabolic gut bacteria as potent probiotics in alternative therapy of hyperandrogenism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2183685
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Androgen
  • gut microbe
  • hyperandrogenism
  • mouse
  • sex steroids
  • testosterone catabolism
  • thauera


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