Activity-based anorexia (ABA) in rodents is a behavioral model of anorexia nervosa, characterized by negative energy balance, hyperactivity, and dysbiosis of gut microbiota. Gut bacteria are known to produce energy substrates including adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and acetate. The aim of this study was to determine whether ABA alters the proteome of gut microbiota relevant to ATP and acetate production.
The ABA was developed in male mice and compared with food-restricted and ad libitum–fed conditions. Proteomic analysis of feces was performed using the two-dimentional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. The in vitro ATP-producing capacity of proteins extracted from feces was assayed.
Increased levels of the phosphoglycerate kinase, an ATP-producing glycolytic enzyme, was detected in feces of food-restricted mice and this enzyme was further increased in the ABA group. Starvation also upregulated several other proteins synthetized by order Clostridiales including Clostridiaceae and Lachnospiraceae families. No significant differences in the in vitro ATP-producing capacity by bacterial proteins from ABA, food-restricted, and ad libitum–fed control mice were found. However, plasma levels of acetate strongly tended to be increased in the activity groups including ABA mice.
The data revealed that starvation in food-restricted and ABA mice induced proteome modification in gut bacteria favoring ATP production mainly by the order Clostridiales. However, this did not result in increased total ATP-production capacity by gut microbiota. These changes can be interpreted as an adaptation of specific gut bacteria to the host malnutrition beneficial for host survival.