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If you have ever travelled across time zones you will be familiar with the adverse effects on your physical function an loss of clarity and productivity – well it seems that the organisms present in your gut, share the same trip and to some extent the same consequences. Published in Cell researchers explored the consequences of this effect on adiposity and metabolic functionality. Whilst they are naturally cautious about translation from a mouse model to a human one, they noted some interesting observations, that may explain some peoples adverse physical consequences derived in part as a result of cross time zone travel.[1]

Organisms ranging from bacteria to humans have circadian clocks to help them synchronise their biological activities to the time of day. This paper now reveals that gut microbes in mice and humans have circadian rhythms that are controlled by the biological clock of the host in which they reside. Disruption of the circadian clock in the host alters the rhythms and composition of the microbial community, potentially leading to obesity and metabolic problems.

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Intestinal dysbiosis and circadian rhythm disruption are associated with similar diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.[1] 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.