Age and micronutrient effects on the microbiome in a mouse model of zinc depletion and supplementation

Edward W. Davis, Carmen P. Wong, Holly K. Arnold, Kristin Kasschau, Christopher A. Gaulke, Thomas J. Sharpton, Emily Ho

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Older adult populations are at risk for zinc deficiency, which may predispose them to immune dysfunction and age-related chronic inflammation that drives myriad diseases and disorders. Recent work also implicates the gut microbiome in the onset and severity of agerelated inflammation, indicating that dietary zinc status and the gut microbiome may interact to impact age-related host immunity. We hypothesize that age-related alterations in the gut microbiome contribute to the demonstrated zinc deficits in host zinc levels and increased inflammation. We tested this hypothesis with a multifactor two-part study design in a C57BL/ 6 mouse model. The two studies included young (2 month old) and aged (24 month old) mice fed either (1) a zinc adequate or zinc supplemented diet, or (2) a zinc adequate or marginal zinc deficient diet, respectively. Overall microbiome composition did not significantly change with zinc status; beta diversity was driven almost exclusively by age effects. Microbiome differences due to age are evident at all taxonomic levels, with more than half of all taxonomic units significantly different. Furthermore, we found 150 out of 186 genera were significantly different between the two age groups, with Bacteriodes and Parabacteroides being the primary taxa of young and old mice, respectively. These data suggest that modulating individual micronutrient concentrations does not lead to comprehensive microbiome shifts, but rather affects specific components of the gut microbiome. However, a phylogenetic agglomeration technique (ClaaTU) revealed phylogenetic clades that respond to modulation of dietary zinc status and inflammation state in an age-dependent manner. Collectively, these results suggest that a complex interplay exists between host age, gut microbiome composition, and dietary zinc status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0275352
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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