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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism