Studies in mice and humans found that the presence, composition and metabolic actions of the gut microbiota had an impact on energy metabolism. In the human study a 20% increase in gut Firmicutes and a 20% decrease in Bacteroides were associated with a 150 kcal increase in energy harvest by the host.
Microbial fermentation generates monosaccharaides and short chain fatty acids which can be absorbed and utilized as energy by the host. Microbiota generated short chain fatty acids (acetate, butyrate and propionic acid) which are readily absorbed by the enterocytes in the colon. Acetate enters the systemic circulation and reaches peripheral tissues; butyrate and propionate are utilized by the colonic epithelium and liver respectively. Methanogens in the gut are found to increase the efficiency of bacterial fermentation and short chained fatty acid production thus increasing fat pad mass in germ-free mice.
- What are the core features of a healthy and stable micro biota?
- What features of the host/ microbiota cross talk are important in maintaining a stable microbiota and gut homeostasis?
- How can this be manipulated to restore equilibrium in conditions of dysbiosis?
- What compositional and functional changes occur in the gut microbiota associated with obesity and its complications?
The cat is a true carnivore and does not have a requirement for carbohydrates. Most cat diets especially dry kibble have at least 30% grain based carbohydrates. The cat derives its glucose requirements from gluconeogenic amino acids and is in a constant state of gluconeogenesis. Theoretically the cat cannot metabolize carbohydrates yet industry research indicates that dietary carbohydrate are tolerated and utilized by the cat. The carbohydrates, although suspected, have not been shown conclusively to be associated with the increased incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the cat. Although investigated in mice and humans the role of the gut microbiota in the cat’s energy metabolism has not been studied.
Part A: A survey comparing the diet, complete blood count, chemistry panel, and gut microflora of newly diagnosed diabetic cats, obese cats and normal age matched controls. This will require a detailed history, which in some cases may be difficult
Part B: Follow the changes in the gut flora CBC, and chemistry panel in the diabetic cats and the obese cats as they undergo treatment and weight loss.