Modulation of Gut Microbiota of Overweight Mice by Agavins and Their Association with Body Weight Loss

Nutrients. 2017 Aug 23;9(9):821. doi: 10.3390/nu9090821.


Agavins consumption has led to accelerated body weight loss in mice. We investigated the changes on cecal microbiota and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) associated with body weight loss in overweight mice. Firstly, mice were fed with standard (ST5) or high-fat (HF5) diet for five weeks. Secondly, overweight mice were shifted to standard diet alone (HF-ST10) or supplemented with agavins (HF-ST + A10) or oligofructose (HF-ST + O10), for five more weeks. Cecal contents were collected before and after supplementation to determine microbiota and SCFA concentrations. At the end of first phase, HF5 mice showed a significant increase of body weight, which was associated with reduction of cecal microbiota diversity (PD whole tree; non-parametric t test, p < 0.05), increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio and reduced SCFA concentrations (t test, p < 0.05). After diet shifting, HF-ST10 normalized its microbiota, increased its diversity, and SCFA levels, whereas agavins (HF-ST + A10) or oligofructose (HF-ST + O10) led to partial microbiota restoration, with normalization of the Firmicutes/Bacteroides ratio, as well as higher SCFA levels (p < 0.1). Moreover, agavins noticeably enriched Klebsiella and Citrobacter (LDA > 3.0); this enrichment has not been reported previously under a prebiotic treatment. In conclusion, agavins or oligofructose modulated cecal microbiota composition, reduced the extent of diversity, and increased SCFA. Furthermore, identification of bacteria enriched by agavins opens opportunities to explore new probiotics.

Keywords: agavins; body weight loss; microbiota; overweight; prebiotics; short chain fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Cecum / drug effects*
  • Cecum / microbiology
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fructans / pharmacology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Overweight / drug therapy*
  • Overweight / microbiology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Prebiotics*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fructans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • oligofructose