Scientists have found how the composition of the intestinal microflora in monkeys changes with age

(ORDO NEWS) — Gut bacteria are an important part of our internal microflora and are vital for maintaining health.

Having studied the composition of such bacteria in mountain rhesus, scientists have identified a curious pattern: with the age of the animal, the diversity of bacteria in its intestines grew, and the species composition of the microflora became more and more unique.

Gut microflora plays a huge role in maintaining our health: these bacteria not only take part in the digestion of food, but also protect us from harmful pathogens and contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.

With age, the composition of bacteria in the gut changes, which is usually associated with a unique “bouquet” of various diseases of older age, which affect the elderly.

Previously, it was believed that changes in the intestinal microflora in the elderly are associated with the lifestyle of a modern person, that is, this is a purely human phenomenon that is not characteristic of other primates.

Moving into a nursing home, dietary changes, metabolic comorbidities, and more and more medications have been credited with shaping the unique composition of the bacteria.

However, scientists from the German Primate Center and the University of Göttingen (Germany) proved that this is not the case by studying the composition of the microflora in young and old individuals of mountain rhesus ( Macaca assamensis ) – one of the types of macaques.

The research was carried out in the homeland of primates, in Southeast Asia, where scientists studied the composition of bacteria in the feces of 51 Rhesus females aged from six to 26 years.

It turned out that with age, the composition of the microflora in old females became more and more individual, although these rhesus continued to live with their group and ate the same fruits, leaves and small animals as young individuals. It turns out that the change in microflora cannot be explained by changes in the diet.

Scientists have found how the composition of the intestinal microflora in monkeys changes with age 2
All macaques spend a lot of time grooming their relatives: this is not only hygienic, but also an important social procedure that helps maintain relationships in the group

Also, only a small influence on the “personalization” of the composition of bacteria had a smaller social activity of old Rhesus.

Even in monkeys that continued to interact with relatives and exchange useful microorganisms with them (primarily due to mutual cleaning of wool, when pieces of feces get into the mouth along with dirt and insects), the composition of the microflora became individualized.

The researchers concluded that these changes are most likely genetically controlled and are part of the natural aging process. How this happens, we have yet to find out.

In any case, such studies of the microflora and functioning of the intestines in our closest relatives may allow us to learn more about the development of intestinal diseases in the elderly and begin to develop individual treatment programs.


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