Do you know how animals' bodies adapt to cold atmospheric temperature? Ever wondered how polar bears and penguins swim, sleep and play in ice? Its the gut microbiota that comes into play in regulating the body temperature of animals, reveals a study.
The gut microbiota has diverse impacts on human and animal physiology and health.
‘Any alteration in the gut microbiota will lead to impaired thermoregulation in the animals.’
In the study, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences focused on the gut microbiota's role in thermoregulation.
It is well known that animals sustain their body temperature by activating heat production from a specialized tissue known as brown adipose tissue.
To evaluate the function of gut microbiota in the activation of brown adipose tissue, the team conducted experiments on mice and used different antibiotic recipes to eradicate gut microbiota in mice.
The mice lacking gut microbiota showed impaired thermoregulation, said lead author John R. Speakman from the Academy's Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology.
For those mice whose gut microbiota was destroyed by antibiotics, supplemented gut bacteria helped partially restore their heat-producing ability, Xinhua news agency reported.
Although the experiment was conducted in mice, it has important implications for human health research.
Elderly people have many problems with body temperature regulation in cold environments.
More research should be done to learn if changes in the human microbiome with age contribute to this effect, and if modulating microbiome in bodies will help elderly people better handle cold exposure, according to the study published in Cell Reports