Age-related compositional changes and correlations of gut microbiome, serum metabolome, and immune factor in rats

Xia Zhang, Yuping Yang, Juan Su, Xiaojiao Zheng, Chongchong Wang, Shaoqiu Chen, Jiajian Liu, Yingfang Lv, Shihao Fan, Aihua Zhao, Tianlu Chen*, Wei Jia*, Xiaoyan Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Aging is a complex physiological process associated with degenerative disorder of metabolism and immune function, which contributes to the occurrence of senile diseases. The gut microbiota affects systemic inflammation in aging processes probably through metabolism, but their relationship is still unclear. In this study, 16S-rRNA-sequencing technology, gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS)–based metabolic profiling, and immune factor analysis combined with advanced differential and association analysis were employed to investigate the correlation between the microbiome, metabolome, and immune factors in male Wistar rats across lifespan. Our findings showed significant changes in the ileum microbiome and serum metabolome compositions across aging process. A two-level strategy was applied to demonstrate that key metabolites associated with age such as 4-hydroxyproline, proline, and lysine were clustered together and positively correlated with beneficial microbes including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Akkermansia. Function analysis explored association between serum metabolite class and specific gut bacteria’s metabolism pathways. Further correlation analysis on all the alteration patterns provided an interaction network of main immune factors such as IL-10, IgA, IgM, and IgG with key gut bacteria and serum metabolites. This study offers new insights into the relationship between immune factors, serum metabolome, and the gut microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709–725
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Early online date17 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cytokines
  • Gut microbiota
  • Immune factor
  • Serum metabolites


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