The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos.

Published

Journal Article

Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes. Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sommer, F; Ståhlman, M; Ilkayeva, O; Arnemo, JM; Kindberg, J; Josefsson, J; Newgard, CB; Fröbert, O; Bäckhed, F

Published Date

  • February 23, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1655 - 1661

PubMed ID

  • 26854221

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26854221

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2211-1247

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.026

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States