Treatment with the α-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose increases median lifespan by approximately 20% in male mice and 5% in females. By inhibiting host digestion, acarbose increases the flux of starch to the lower digestive system, resulting in changes to the gut microbiota and its fermentation products. Given the documented health benefits of short-chain fatty acids, the dominant products of starch fermentation by gut bacteria, this secondary effect of acarbose could contribute to increased longevity in mice. Despite previous observations, in humans and rats, that acarbose results in substantial changes to the structure and fermentation products of the gut microbiota, a link between these effects on the microbiome and longevity has not been established. I will present data combining bacterial community surveys with measurement of fecal metabolites and lifespan in acarbose treated mice, allowing us to explore the role of the microbiome in increased longevity.
Sponsored by the Host Microbiome Initiative