Gut microbiota mediates the anti-obesity effect of calorie restriction in mice

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 29;8(1):13037. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31353-1.


Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan and elicits numerous effects beneficial to health and metabolism in various model organisms, but the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. Gut microbiota has been reported to be associated with the beneficial effects of CR; however, it is unknown whether these effects of CR are causally mediated by gut microbiota. In this study, we employed an antibiotic-induced microbiota-depleted mouse model to investigate the functional role of gut microbiota in CR. Depletion of gut microbiota rendered mice resistant to CR-induced loss of body weight, accompanied by the increase in fat mass, the reduction in lean mass and the decline in metabolic rate. Depletion of gut microbiota led to increases in fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels independent of CR. A few metabolism-modulating hormones including leptin and insulin were altered by CR and/or gut microbiota depletion. In addition, CR altered the composition of gut microbiota with significant increases in major probiotic genera such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, together with the decrease of Helicobacter. In addition, we performed fecal microbiota transplantation in mice fed with high-fat diet. Mice with transferred microbiota from calorie-restricted mice resisted high fat diet-induced obesity and exhibited metabolic improvement such as alleviated hepatic lipid accumulation. Collectively, these data indicate that CR-induced metabolic improvement especially in body weight reduction is mediated by intestinal microbiota to a certain extent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Metabolism
  • Mice
  • Weight Loss*