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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323974

Research Project: Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc and Select Phytochemicals for Improved Health

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Chronic zinc deficiency alters chick gut microbiota composition and function

Author
item Reed, Spenser - Cornell University - New York
item Neuman, Hadar - Bar-Ilan University
item Moskovitch, Sharon - Bar-Ilan University
item Glahn, Raymond
item Koren, Omry - Bar-Ilan University
item Tako, Elad

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2015
Publication Date: 11/20/2015
Publication URL: http://DOI: 10.3390/nu7115497
Citation: Reed, S.M., Neuman, H., Moskovitch, S., Glahn, R.P., Koren, O., Tako, E.N. 2015. Chronic zinc deficiency alters chick gut microbiota composition and function. Nutrients. 7:1-17.

Interpretive Summary: Dietary zinc (Zn) deficiency is a health concern caused by a lack of absorbable Zn, mostly in developing countries. Although the gut is a vital organ for Zn utilization and absorption, and although Zn deficiency is associated with lower intestinal functionality and a decrease in gut health, the effects on the gut microbial populations of the host under conditions of Zn deficiency have yet to be studied. Using the broiler chicken model, our objective was to identify changes in specific intestinal bacterial populations induced by chronic dietary Zn deficiency. We demonstrate that Zn deficiency induces significant alterations in intestinal bacterial composition and decreases overall species richness and diversity, establishing a microbial profile resembling that of various other pathological states. The analysis indicated that several physiological pathways are significantly depleted under Zn deficiency; along with concomitant decreases in beneficial short chain fatty acids, such depletions may further preclude optimal host Zn availability. We also identify several candidate microbes that may play a significant role in modulating the bioavailability and utilization of dietary Zn during chronic deficiency. Our results are the first to characterize a unique and dysbiotic intestinal microbiota during Zn deficiency, and provide evidence for such microbial perturbations as potential effectors of the Zn deficient status.

Technical Abstract: Zinc (Zn) deficiency is a prevalent micronutrient insufficiency. Although the gut is a vital organ for Zn utilization, and Zn deficiency is associated with impaired intestinal permeability and a global decrease in gastrointestinal health, alterations in the gut microbial ecology of the host under conditions of Zn deficiency have yet to be studied. Using the broiler chicken (Gallus gallus) model, the aim of this study was to characterize distinct cecal microbiota shifts induced by chronic dietary Zn depletion. We demonstrate that Zn deficiency induces significant taxonomic alterations and decreases overall species richness and diversity, establishing a microbial profile resembling that of various other pathological states. Through metagenomic analysis, we show that predicted KEGG pathways responsible for macro– and micronutrient uptake are significantly depleted under Zn deficiency; along with concomitant decreases in beneficial short chain fatty acids, such depletions may further preclude optimal host Zn availability. We also identify several candidate microbes that may play a significant role in modulating the bioavailability and utilization of dietary Zn during prolonged deficiency. Our results are the first to characterize a unique and dysbiotic cecal microbiota during Zn deficiency, and provide evidence for such microbial perturbations as potential effectors of the Zn deficient phenotype.