Influence of Aging, Macronutrient Composition and Time-Restricted Feeding on the Fischer344 x Brown Norway Rat Gut Microbiota

Academic Article


  • Both ketogenic diets (KD) and time-restricted feeding (TRF) regimens have the ability to influence several parameters of physical health, including gut microbiome composition and circulating cytokine concentration. Moreover, both of these dietary interventions prevent common impairments associated with the aging process. However, significantly altering macronutrient intake, which is required for a KD, may be unappealing to individuals and decrease compliance to dietary treatments. In contrast to a KD, TRF allows individuals to continue eating the foods they are used to, and only requires a change in the time of day at which they eat. Therefore, we investigated both a KD and a diet with a more Western-like macronutrient profile in the context of TRF, and compared both diets to animals allowed access to standard chow ad libitum in young adult and aged rats. While limited effects on cytokine levels were observed, both methods of microbiome analysis (16S sequencing and metagenomics) indicate that TRF and KDs significantly altered the gut microbiome in aged rats. These changes were largely dependent on changes to feeding paradigm (TRF vs. ad libitum) alone regardless of macronutrient content for many gut microbiota, but there were also macronutrient-specific changes. Specifically, functional analysis indicates significant differences in several pathways, including those involved in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, carbohydrate metabolism and neurodegenerative disease. These data indicate that age-and disease-related gut dysbiosis may be ameliorated through the use of TRF with both standard diets and KDs.
  • Published In

  • Nutrients  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hernandez AR; Kemp KM; Burke SN; Buford TW; Carter CS
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 9