Vitamin A deficiency (A−) is a worldwide public health problem. To better understand how vitamin A status influences gut microbiota and host metabolism, we systematically analyzed urine, cecum, serum and liver samples from vitamin A sufficient (A+) and deficient (A−) mice using 1 H NMR-based metabolomics, quantitative (q)PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing coupled with multivariate data analysis. The microbiota in the cecum of A− mice showed compositional as well as functional shifts compared to the microbiota from A+ mice. Targeted 1 H NMR analyses revealed significant changes in microbial metabolite concentrations including higher butyrate and hippurate and decreased acetate and 4-hydroxyphenylacetate in A+ relative to A− mice. Bacterial butyrate-producing genes including butyryl-CoA:acetate CoA-transferase and butyrate kinase were significantly higher in bacteria from A+ versus bacteria from A− mice. A− mice had disturbances in multiple metabolic pathways including alterations in energy (hyperglycemia, glycogenesis, TCA cycle and lipoprotein biosynthesis), amino acid and nucleic acid metabolism. A− mice had hyperglycemia, liver dysfunction, changes in bacterial metabolism and altered gut microbial communities. Moreover, integrative analyses indicated a strong correlation between gut microbiota and host energy metabolism pathways in the liver. Vitamin A regulates host and bacterial metabolism, and the result includes alterations in energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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