Restructuring of the gut microbiome by intermittent fasting prevents retinopathy and prolongs survival in db/db mice

Eleni Beli, Yuanqing Yan, Leni Moldovan, Cristiano P. Vieira, Ruli Gao, Yaqian Duan, Ram Prasad, Ashay Bhatwadekar, Fletcher A. White, Steven D. Townsend, Luisa Chan, Caitlin N. Ryan, Daniel Morton, Emil G. Moldovan, Fang I. Chu, Gavin Y. Oudit, Hartmut Derendorf, Luciano Adorini, Xiaoxin X. Wang, Carmella Evans-MolinaRaghavendra G. Mirmira, Michael E. Boulton, Mervin C. Yoder, Qiuhong Li, Moshe Levi, Julia V. Busik, Maria B. Grant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Intermittent fasting (IF) protects against the development of metabolic diseases and cancer, but whether it can prevent diabetic microvascular complications is not known. In db/db mice, we examined the impact of long-term IF on diabetic retinopathy (DR). Despite no change in glycated hemoglobin, db/db mice on the IF regimen displayed significantly longer survival and a reduction in DR end points, including acellular capillaries and leukocyte infiltration. We hypothesized that IF-mediated changes in the gut microbiota would produce beneficial metabolites and prevent the development of DR. Microbiome analysis revealed increased levels of Firmicutes and decreased Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia. Compared with db/db mice on ad libitum feeding, changes in the microbiome of the db/db mice on IF were associated with increases in gut mucin, goblet cell number, villi length, and reductions in plasma peptidoglycan. Consistent with the known modulatory effects of Firmicutes on bile acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1867-1879
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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