Emerging data indicate a correlation between gut microbial composition and cardiovascular disease including hypertension. The host’s diet greatly affects microbial composition and metabolite production. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are products of microbial fermentation, which can be utilized by the host. It has been suggested that SCFAs play a pivotal role as mediators in a microbiome host: microbial interactions occur in health and disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a high salt diet (HSD) on microbial variation and to determine whether this effect is accompanied by an alteration in fecal SCFAs. To this end, Dahl salt-sensitive rats were divided into two groups (n
= 10 each): (A) Control: fed regular chow; and (B) Fed HSD. High-throughput pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was used for microbiome characterizing. Chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to measure the levels of SCFAs: acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, and isobutyric acid in fecal samples. Differences in microbial composition were noted between groups. Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) principal coordinate 1 (PC1) primarily separated controls from the HSD. Four taxa displayed significant differences between HSD and controls. Taxa from the Erwinia genus, the Christensenellaceae and Corynebacteriaceae families, displayed an increased abundance in HSD versus control. In contrast, taxa from the Anaerostipes genus displayed a decreased abundance in HSD. We were able to identify seven unique taxa that were significantly associated with blood pressure. There was a significant difference in fecal acetic acid, as well as propionic and isobutyric acid, but not in the butyric acid composition between groups. Adding salt to a diet impacts the gut’s microbial composition, which may alter fecal SCFA production.
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