• Exercise and the microbiota

      O'Sullivan, Orla; Cronin, Owen; Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; Molloy, Micheal G; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 24/03/2015)
      Sedentary lifestyle is linked with poor health, most commonly obesity and associated disorders, the corollary being that exercise offers a preventive strategy. However, the scope of exercise biology extends well beyond energy expenditure and has emerged as a great ‘polypill’, which is safe, reliable and cost-effective not only in disease prevention but also treatment. Biological mechanisms by which exercise influences homeostasis are becoming clearer and involve multi-organ systemic adaptations. Most of the elements of a modern lifestyle influence the indigenous microbiota but few studies have explored the effect of increased physical activity. While dietary responses to exercise obscure the influence of exercise alone on gut microbiota, professional athletes operating at the extremes of performance provide informative data. We assessed the relationship between extreme levels of exercise, associated dietary habits and gut microbiota composition, and discuss potential mechanisms by which exercise may exert a direct or indirect influence on gut microbiota.
    • Targeting the Microbiota to Address Diet-Induced Obesity: A Time Dependent Challenge

      Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Alimentary Health Ltd (PLOS, 07/06/2013)
      Links between the gut microbiota and host metabolism have provided new perspectives on obesity. We previously showed that the link between the microbiota and fat deposition is age- and time-dependent subject to microbial adaptation to diet over time. We also demonstrated reduced weight gain in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice through manipulation of the gut microbiota with vancomycin or with the bacteriocin-producing probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 (Bac+), with metabolic improvement achieved in DIO mice in receipt of vancomycin. However, two phases of weight gain were observed with effects most marked early in the intervention phase. Here, we compare the gut microbial populations at the early relative to the late stages of intervention using a high throughput sequencing-based analysis to understand the temporal relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity. This reveals several differences in microbiota composition over the intervening period. Vancomycin dramatically altered the gut microbiota composition, relative to controls, at the early stages of intervention after which time some recovery was evident. It was also revealed that Bac+ treatment initially resulted in the presence of significantly higher proportions of Peptococcaceae and significantly lower proportions of Rikenellaceae and Porphyromonadaceae relative to the gut microbiota of L. salivarius UCC118 bacteriocin negative (Bac-) administered controls. These differences were no longer evident at the later time. The results highlight the resilience of the gut microbiota and suggest that interventions may need to be monitored and continually adjusted to ensure sustained modification of the gut microbiota.