Researchers here report on an analysis of changes in the gut microbiome with age, looking at normally aged mice alongside those undergoing heterochronic parabiosis, probiotic treatment, and injection with serum from young mice. All of the interventions improved the state of the aged gut microbiome and reduced inflammation, but only some produced meaningful changes age-related frailty. The microbial populations of the gut undergo shifts with age, reductions in beneficial species and a growth in harmful species that provoke inflammation. Any intervention that improves immune function should help, given the role of the immune system in gardening the gut microbiome, as do interventions that directly change the balance of populations. In humans, the most promising approach is fecal microbiota transplantation, given that it is already an established procedure, but that doesn't stop researchers from assessing all sort of other interventions in animal studies.
The gut microbiota is associated with the health and longevity of the host. Through the aging process, age-related changes in the composition of gut microbiota have been observed, which are related to increased intestinal disorders, inflammation, cognitive decline, and increased frailty. Furthermore, remodeling of the gut microbiome has resulted in a prolonged lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster, killifish, and progeroid mice. Previous studies have clearly shown that delivery of a healthy microbiome through co-housing or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) enhances intestinal immunity and facilitates healthy aging.
The changes in host microbiomes still remain poorly understood. Here, we characterized both the changes in gut microbial communities and their functional potential derived from colon samples in mouse models during aging. We achieved this through four procedures including co-housing, serum injection, parabiosis, and oral administration of Akkermansia muciniphila as probiotics using bacterial 16 S rRNA sequencing and shotgun metagenomic sequencing.
These rejuvenation procedures restore age-dependent alterations in intestinal function and inflammation. Furthermore, oral administration of Akkermansia led to an improvement in the frailty index. The generated data expand the resources of the gut microbiome related to aging and rejuvenation and provide a useful dataset for research on developing therapeutic strategies to achieve healthy active aging.