J Neurogastroenterol Motil.  2021 Jan;27(1):134-146. 10.5056/jnm20148.

Changes in Cecal Microbiota and Short-chain Fatty Acid During Lifespan of the Rat

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Digestive Disease Research Institute and DCNbio research center, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Jeollabuk-do, Korea
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Wonkwang University Sanbon Medical Center, Gunpo-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
  • 5Department of Biological Sciences and Institute of Microbiology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea


The gut microbiota regulates intestinal immune homeostasis through host-microbiota interactions. Multiple factors affect the gut microbiota, including age, sex, diet, and use of drugs. In addition, information on gut microbiota differs depending on the samples. The aim of this study is to investigate whether changes in cecal microbiota depend on aging.
Gut microbiota in cecal contents of 6-, 31-, and 74-week-old and 2-year-old male Fischer-344 rats (corresponding to 5-, 30-, 60-, and 80-year-old humans in terms of age) were analyzed using 16S ribosomal RNA metagenome sequencing and phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt) based on the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes orthology. Moreover, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) level in cecum and inflammation related factors were measured using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay.
Alpha and beta diversity did not change significantly with age. At the family level, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae, which produce SCFAs, showed significant change in 31-week-old rats: Lachnospiraceae significantly increased at 31 weeks of age, compared to other age groups, while Ruminococcaceae decreased. Butyrate levels in cecum were significantly increased in 31-week-old rats, and the expression of inflammation related genes was increased followed aging. Especially, EU622775_s and EU622773_s, which were highly abundance species in 31-week-old rats, showed significant relationship with butyrate concentration. Enzymes required for producing butyrate—acetyl-CoA transferase, butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase, and butyrate kinase—were not predicted by PICRUSt.
Major bacterial taxa in the cecal lumen, such as Lachnospiraceae, well-known SCFAs-producing family, changed in 31-week-old rats. Moreover, unknown species EU622775_s and EU622773_s showed strong association with cecal butyrate level at 31 weeks of age.


Aging; Butyrate; Cecum; Microbiota; Rats
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