"As you might expect, significant differences were found between the fecal microorganisms of mice fed a biochemically complex diet containing isoflavones and those that were fed a simple diet that lacked isoflavones," he said. "Interestingly, however, we also found that the microorganisms differed between mice that expressed estrogen receptor beta and those that did not."
Distinct patterns for Lactobacillales were exclusive to and highly abundant among mice fed a complex diet containing isoflavones, Sturino explained.
"Some Lactobacillales have probiotic function when taken in adequate numbers in food or dietary supplements, so indigenous species might also act to promote gut health," he said.
In contrast, he noted, the relative diversity of Proteobacteria increased significantly following the transition to the simple, isoflavone-free diet. Proteobacteria includes a number of species commonly associated with intestinal disease, including Escherichia, the "E" in E. coli O157:H7, and salmonella.
These and other study results demonstrated that steroid receptor status and diet complexity might play important roles in microbiota maintenance, Sturino said.
"While the balance and content of microorganisms in the gut changes as we age, we are only now learning how our genetics and dietary choices affect our health by modifying the composition and activity of these microorganisms," he said.
In the long term, Sturino believes that this study will aid in the development of novel probiotics, prebiotics, nutritional strategies and pharmaceuticals to improve overall health by promoting the growth and activity of beneficial intestinal microorganisms.
|Contact: Dr. Joseph Sturino|
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications