Background: A variety of microbial communities exist throughout the human and animal body. Genetics, environmental factors and long-term dietary habit contribute to shaping the composition of the gut microbiota. For this reason the study of the gut microbiota of a mammal exhibiting an extraordinary life span is of great importance. The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a eusocial mammal known for its longevity and cancer resistance.
Methods: Here we analyzed its gut microbiota by cultivating the bacteria under aerobic and anaerobic conditions and identifying their species by mass spectrometry.
Results: Altogether, 29 species of microbes were identified, predominantly belonging to Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes. The most frequent species were Bacillus megaterium (45.2 %), followed by Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (19.4 %), Bacteroides ovatus, Staphylococcus sciuri and Paenibacillus spp., each with a frequency of 16.1 %.
Conclusion: Overall, the gut of the naked mole-rat is colonized by diverse, but low numbers of cultivable microbes compared with humans and mice. The primary food plants of the rodents are rich in polyphenols and related compounds, possessing anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative as well as anti-cancer activity which may contribute to their exceptionally healthy life.
Keywords: Diet; Microbiota; Naked mole-rat; Polyphenols.