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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 May 1;316(5):E956-E966. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00510.2018. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Microbiome potentiates endurance exercise through intestinal acetate production.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science , Otsu , Japan.
CMIC Pharma Science, Osaka , Japan.


The intestinal microbiome produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) from dietary fiber and has specific effects on other organs. During endurance exercise, fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids are major energy substrates. However, little is known about the role of SCFAs during exercise. To investigate this, mice were administered either multiple antibiotics or a low microbiome-accessible carbohydrate (LMC) diet, before endurance testing on a treadmill. Two-week antibiotic treatment significantly reduced endurance capacity versus the untreated group. In the cecum acetate, propionate, and butyrate became almost undetectable in the antibiotic-treated group, plasma SCFA concentrations were lower, and the microbiome was disrupted. Similarly, 6-wk LMC treatment significantly reduced exercise capacity, and fecal and plasma SCFA concentrations. Continuous acetate but not saline infusion in antibiotic-treated mice restored their exercise capacity (P < 0.05), suggesting that plasma acetate may be an important energy substrate during endurance exercise. In addition, running time was significantly improved in LMC-fed mice by fecal microbiome transplantation from others fed a high microbiome-accessible carbohydrate diet and administered a single portion of fermentable fiber (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the microbiome can contribute to endurance exercise by producing SCFAs. Our findings provide new insight into the effects of the microbiome on systemic metabolism.


acetate; microbiome; short-chain fatty acid; skeletal muscle


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