In mammals, the introduction of solid food is pivotal for the establishment of the gut microbiota. However, the effects of the first food consumed on long-term microbiota trajectory and host response are still largely unknown.
This study aimed to investigate the influences of (i) the timing of first solid food ingestion and (ii) the consumption of plant polysaccharides on bacterial community dynamics and host physiology using a rabbit model. To modulate the first exposure to solid nutrients, solid food was provided to suckling rabbits from two different time points (3 or 15 days of age). In parallel, food type was modulated with the provision of diets differing in carbohydrate content throughout life: the food either was formulated with a high proportion of rapidly fermentable fibers (RFF) or was starch-enriched.
We found that access to solid food as of 3 days of age accelerated the gut microbiota maturation. Our data revealed differential effects according to the digestive segment: precocious solid food ingestion influenced to a greater extent the development of bacterial communities of the appendix vermiformis, whereas life course polysaccharides ingestion had marked effects on the cecal microbiota. Greater ingestion of RFF was assumed to promote pectin degradation as revealed by metabolomics analysis. However, transcriptomic and phenotypic host responses remained moderately affected by experimental treatments, suggesting little outcomes of the observed microbiome modulations on healthy subjects.
In conclusion, our work highlighted the timing of solid food introduction and plant polysaccharides ingestion as two different tools to modulate microbiota implantation and functionality.
Paës, C.; Gidenne, T.; Bebin, K.; Duperray, J.; Gohier, C.; Guene-Grand, E.; Rebours, G.; Barilly, C.; Gabinaud, B.; Cauquil, L.; Castinel, A.; Pascal, G.; Darbot, V.; Aymard, P.; Debrusse, A.M.; Beaumont, M.; Combes, S., Early Introduction of Plant Polysaccharides Drives the Establishment of Rabbit Gut Bacterial Ecosystems and the Acquisition of Microbial Functions. Msystems: 18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/msystems.00243-22