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Brain Behav Immun. 2010 May;24(4):577-84. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.12.010. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Photoperiod modulates gut bacteria composition in male Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus).

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  • 1Section of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Seasonal changes in day length (i.e., photoperiod) provide animals with a reliable environmental cue to determine time of year, and many physiological changes occur in laboratory animals simply by extending or shortening day length. Male Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) housed in long summer-like day lengths have significantly elevated body and fat masses compared to short-day hamsters. Because others have demonstrated that the intestinal microbiota of humans and rodents promotes host adiposity, we hypothesized that photoperiod-induced changes in body and fat masses could be associated with changes in the microbial composition in the intestines. We used bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP) to assess microbial diversity in the cecal contents of hamsters; long days significantly increased the relative abundance of bacteria in the phylum Proteobacteria. This effect was primarily due to a significant increase in the abundance of the genus Citrobacter, with both the abundance of Proteobacteria and Citrobacter spp. significantly correlated with body mass and with inguinal fat mass. In general, the abundance of the Firmicutes phylum was inversely associated with body mass. These data indicate that the intestinal microbiota are responsive to changes in photoperiod and suggest that these changes may in part influence photoperiodic changes in body and fat masses.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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