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Article

Gut Microbiome Composition is Associated with Age and Memory Performance in Pet Dogs

1
Department of Ethology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
2
Department of Microbiology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091488
Received: 25 July 2020 / Revised: 13 August 2020 / Accepted: 18 August 2020 / Published: 24 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Companion Animal Cognition, Communication, and Behavior)
The intestinal tract affects the brain through metabolites produced by gut-inhabiting bacteria. In this study, we show that the number of errors the dogs commit in a short-term memory test and also their age is linked to the gut microbiome composition. The proportion of Fusobacteria is lower in older animals. Dogs with better memory performance (i.e., fewer mistakes) have relatively fewer Actinobacteria in their fecal samples collected right after the behavior test. This result is in agreement with the high abundance of some Actinobacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. Links between memory performance and gut microbiota have been reported on rodents but not on dogs before. The research opens up new venues in canine aging and neurodevelopmental research.
Gut microbiota can crucially influence behavior and neurodevelopment. Dogs show unique similarities to humans in their physiology and may naturally develop dementia-like cognitive decline. We assessed 29 pet dogs’ cognitive performance in a memory test and analyzed the bacterial 16S rRNA gene from fecal samples collected right after the behavioral tests. The major phyla identified in the dog microbiomes were Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Fusobacteria, each represented by >20% of the total bacterial community. Fewer Fusobacteria were found in older dogs and better memory performance was associated with a lower proportion of Actinobacteria. Our preliminary findings support the existence of links between gut microbiota, age, and cognitive performance in pet dogs. View Full-Text
Keywords: gut microbiome; dog; cognition; aging gut microbiome; dog; cognition; aging
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kubinyi, E.; Bel Rhali, S.; Sándor, S.; Szabó, A.; Felföldi, T. Gut Microbiome Composition is Associated with Age and Memory Performance in Pet Dogs. Animals 2020, 10, 1488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091488

AMA Style

Kubinyi E, Bel Rhali S, Sándor S, Szabó A, Felföldi T. Gut Microbiome Composition is Associated with Age and Memory Performance in Pet Dogs. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091488

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kubinyi, Eniko; Bel Rhali, Soufiane; Sándor, Sára; Szabó, Attila; Felföldi, Tamás. 2020. "Gut Microbiome Composition is Associated with Age and Memory Performance in Pet Dogs" Animals 10, no. 9: 1488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091488

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