Cholecalciferol supplementation alters gut function and improves digestibility in an underground inhabitant, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber), when fed on a carrot diet

Shlomo Yahav, Rochelle Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) lead a strictly subterranean existence and appear to be naturally deficient in cholecalciferol (D3). Oral supplementation with D3 (Ds) led to a 1-8-fold increase in food intake and the associated enlargement (1-4-fold) of the caecum. The effect of Ds, and the concomitant increase in food intake, on caecal fermentation efficiency when animals were fed on a carrot-based diet was determined by measuring the rate of both gas production and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Microbial-controlled fermentation processes in the caecum were enhanced with Ds when compared with animals not receiving a D3 supplement (Dn). Both the rates of gas production (Dn 10-76 (se 0-77), Ds 15-20 (se 1-77) ml/g dry matter (DM) per h) and SCFA production (Dn 463-0 (se 33–7), Ds 684-3 (se 74.8) μmol/g DM per h) increased more than 1-4-fold per g DM caecal substrate. These factors contributed to the higher digestibility of the food in Ds animals. The larger quantity of energy available to D3-replete naked mole rats was not used in anabolic processes, for these animals maintained mass. These findings suggest that metabolic rate in D3-replete animals was elevated. Thus, despite improved gut function, D3-replete animals may be disadvantaged by their higher energy and food requirements in their natural milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1993

Keywords

  • Caecal fermentation
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Mole rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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