Curcumin has been proven to have a weight-loss effect in a menopausal rat model induced by ovariectomy. However, the effects of curcumin on gut microfloral communities of ovariectomized (OVX) rats remains unclear. Here, we used high-throughput 16S rDNA sequencing to explore the effects of curcumin on microbial diversity in the gut of OVX rats. Female Wistar rats were subjected to either ovariectomy or a sham operation (SHAM group). The OVX rats were treated with vehicle (OVX group) or curcumin (CUR group) by oral gavage. After 12-week treatments, the weights of the bodies and uteri of rats were recorded, the levels of estradiol in the serum were assayed by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA). Then, the fragments encompassing V3–V4 16S rDNA hypervariable regions were PCR amplified from fecal samples, and the PCR products of V3–V4 were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq for characterization of the gut microbiota. Our results showed that, compared to rats in the SHAM group, rats in the OVX group had more weight gain and lower levels of estradiol in the serum, and curcumin could cause significant weight loss in OVX rats but did not increase the levels of estradiol. Sequencing results revealed the presence of 1120, 1114, and 1119 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) found in the SHAM, OVX, and CUR groups, respectively. The percentage of shared OTUs was 86.1603%. Gut microbiota of rats from the SHAM or CUR group had higher levels of biodiversity and unevenness estimations than those from the OVX group. At the phyla level, compared to rats in SHAM group, rats in the OVX group had a higher ratio of phyla Firmicutes
in the gut; at the genus level, four differential gut microbiota (Incertae_Sedis
, and Helicobacter
) between SHAM and OVX groups were found, whereas seven differential gut microbiota (Serratia
, and Helicobacter
) between OVX and CUR groups were found. In conclusion, estrogen deficiency induced by ovariectomy caused changes in the distribution and structure of intestinal microflora in rats, and curcumin could partially reverse changes in the diversity of gut microbiota.
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