Cage bedding modifies metabolic and gut microbiota profiles in mouse studies applying dietary restriction

A. Gregor, L. Fragner, S. Trajanoski, W. Li, X. Sun, W. Weckwerth, J. König, K. Duszka

Experiments involving food restriction are common practice in metabolic research. Under fasted conditions, mice supplement their diet with cage bedding. We aimed at identifying metabolic and microbiota-related parameters affected by the bedding type. We exposed mice housed with wooden, cellulose, or corncob cage beddings to ad libitum feeding, caloric restriction (CR), or over-night (ON) fasting. Additionally, two subgroups of the ON fast group were kept without any bedding or on a metal grid preventing coprophagy. Mice under CR supplemented their diet substantially with bedding; however, the amount varied depending on the kind of bedding. Bedding-related changes in body weight loss, fat loss, cecum size, stomach weight, fecal output, blood ghrelin levels as well as a response to glucose oral tolerance test were recorded. As fiber is fermented by the gut bacteria, the type of bedding affects gut bacteria and fecal metabolites composition of CR mice. CR wood and cellulose groups showed distinct cecal metabolite and microbiome profiles when compared to the CR corncob group. While all ad libitum fed animal groups share similar profiles. We show that restriction-related additional intake of bedding-derived fiber modulates multiple physiological parameters. Therefore, the previous rodent studies on CR, report the combined effect of CR and increased fiber consumption.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, Research Platform Vienna Metabolomics Center, Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
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Medizinische Universität Graz
Scientific Reports
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Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
303009 Nutritional sciences
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