Intestinal dysbiosis and circadian rhythm disruption are associated with similar diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. Despite the overlap, the potential relationship between circadian disorganization and dysbiosis is unknown; thus, in the present study, a model of chronic circadian disruption was used to determine the impact on the intestinal microbiome. Male C57BL/6J mice underwent once weekly phase reversals of the light: dark cycle (i.e., circadian rhythm disrupted mice) to determine the impact of circadian rhythm disruption on the intestinal microbiome and were fed either standard chow or a high-fat, high-sugar diet to determine how diet influences circadian disruption-induced effects on the microbiome. Weekly phase reversals of the light: dark (LD) cycle did not alter the microbiome in mice fed standard chow; however, mice fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet in conjunction with phase shifts in the light: dark cycle had significantly altered microbiota. While it is yet to be established if some of the adverse effects associated with circadian disorganization in humans (e.g., shift workers, travellers moving across time zones, and in individuals with social jet lag) are mediated by dysbiosis, the current study demonstrates that circadian disorganization can impact the intestinal microbiota which may have implications for inflammatory diseases.
For those of you that travel a lot or even a little but note that there are changes to bowel action and comfort, part of the explanation may be found in this interesting mouse study should it be transferable to humans.