Cold Exposure during the Active Phase Affects the Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production of Mice in a Time-Specific Manner

Metabolites. 2021 Dec 27;12(1):20. doi: 10.3390/metabo12010020.


Chronic or acute ambient temperature change alter the gut microbiota and the metabolites, regulating metabolic functions. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by gut bacteria reduce the risk of disease. Feeding patterns and gut microbiota that are involved in SCFAs production are controlled by the circadian clock. Hence, the effect of environmental temperature change on SCFAs production is expected depending on the exposure timing. In addition, there is limited research on effects of habitual cold exposure on the gut microbiota and SCFAs production compared to chronic or acute exposure. Therefore, the aim was to examine the effect of cold or heat exposure timing on SCFAs production. After exposing mice to 7 or 37 °C for 3 h a day at each point for 10 days, samples were collected, and cecal pH, SCFA concentration, and BAT weight was measured. As a result, cold exposure at ZT18 increased cecal pH and decreased SCFAs. Intestinal peristalsis was suppressed due to the cold exposure at ZT18. The results reveal differing effects of intermittent cold exposure on the gut environment depending on exposure timing. In particular, ZT18 (active phase) is the timing to be the most detrimental to the gut environment of mice.

Keywords: cold exposure; exposure timing; gut microbiota; short-chain fatty acids.