BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Gut microbiota plays an important role in regulating the body temperature of animals under low temperature conditions, according to a recent research.
The gut microbiota has diverse impacts on human and animal physiology and health. Researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have focused on gut microbiota's role in thermoregulation, the way animals respond to cold exposure.
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 researchers conducted experiments on mice and used different antibiotic recipes to eradicate gut microbiota in mice.
They found that the mice lacking gut microbiota had impaired thermoregulation. They also found that for those mice whose gut microbiota was destroyed by antibiotics, supplemented gut bacteria help partially restore their heat-producing ability.
Although the experiment was conducted in mice, it has important implications for human health research, according to the research team.
Elderly people have many problems with body temperature regulation in a cold environment. 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.
The research was published in the journal Cell Reports.