A Synthetic Formula Amino Acid Diet Leads to Microbiome Dysbiosis, Reduced Colon Length, Inflammation, and Altered Locomotor Activity in C57BL/6J Mice
0000-0001-6857-0286 (Barber, Robert C.)
0000-0001-5784-4659 (Zhang, Yan)
The effects of synthetic, free-amino acid diets, similar to those prescribed as supplements for (phenylketonuria) PKU patients, on gut microbiota and overall health are not well understood. In the current, multidisciplinary study, we examined the effects of a synthetically-derived, low-fiber, amino acid diet on behavior, cognition, gut microbiome composition, and inflammatory markers. A cohort of 20 male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to either a standard or synthetic diet (n = 10) at post-natal day 21 and maintained for 13 weeks. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from fecal samples revealed decreased bacterial diversity, increased abundance of bacteria associated with disease, such as Prevotella, and a downward shift in gut microbiota associated with fermentation pathways in the synthetic diet group. Furthermore, there were decreased levels of short chain fatty acids and shortening of the colon in mice consuming the synthetic diet. Finally, we measured TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 in serum, the hippocampus, and colon, and found that the synthetic diet significantly increased IL-6 production in the hippocampus. These results demonstrate the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to future diet and microbiome studies, as diet not only impacts the gut microbiome composition but potentially systemic health as well.