Exercise Promotes Enhanced Gut Microbial Diversity Compared to Sedentary Counterparts


1Gotthardt, J.D., 2Noji, M., 3Kerkhof, L.J., 3McGuiness, L., 4Häggblom, M.M., 2Campbell, SC, 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, 2Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies; 3Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences; Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Background: Diet-induced obesity (DIO) has been shown to shift the balance of species present in the gut microbiome from predominantly Bacteroides to Firmicutes. Subsequent studies have shown the other factors can alter gut microbial ecology, e.g. calorie restriction and environmental toxin exposure. Purpose: Our focus is exercise and since exercise contributes to both caloric expenditure and nutrient partitioning, we hypothesized that exercise may also alter gut microbial ecology. Our previous work showed individual clusters for exercised mice, regardless of diet, with 40% variation from sedentary lean and obese clusters as indicated by Sorenson’s Index. Methods: To follow-up these results and assess changes in species we used thirty-six (n=9/group) male C57 mice who were weighed and randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: 1-) lean-sedentary (10% fat diet, Research Diets); 2-) DIO- sedentary (45% fat, Research Diets); 3-) lean-exercise; and 4-) DIO-exercise for 12 weeks. Mice had ad libitum access to food and water. Exercise mice had free access to a running wheel in their cages. Food intake was monitored every other day, body weights once per week and body composition was taken prior to sacrifice. Upon sacrifice feces was obtained from the distal colon and were prepared for cloning and sequencing of genetic material. Results: Results indicated that DIO-exercise mice presented with a lean phenotype compared to their sedentary counterparts, as indicated by lower body weight and fat mass. Sequencing of the genetic material results in identification of greater number and variation of species in samples from exercised mice supporting our hypothesis. Sequencing, however, lead to only the identification of species in the phylum Firmicutes, potentially due to cloning bias. Conclusions: Ongoing work, aims at cultivation of predominant species to understand their impact on systemic metabolism and our recent grant will allow for sample deep sequencing which, will provide a greater distinction between treatment cohorts.

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