All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Liou Y Sun

Advisory Committee Members

Thane Wibbels

Melissa Harris

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is currently the fifth highest cause of death in the United States and affects primarily individuals of very old age (>80 yrs.). Aging is known to be the biggest risk factor of AD. Recent studies have shown that AD patients have an altered gut microbiota composition. To investigate whether the Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain could drive gut microbiota changes during the adult and late life stage of the rat, we performed 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing on the fecal samples of the animals at 14 months and 20 months of age. We found a distinctive shift in the gut microbial composition and community structure based off on both genotype and age. The Tgf344-AD rats were also found to have decreased microbial diversity compared to controls in middle age and this surprisingly was found to be reversed in advanced age. LEfSe was utilized to assess the differentially represented bacterial taxa between the different genotypes and age groups. Genotypic changes were observed at all levels from phylum to the genus level. Some notable changes were in the genera Bifidobacterium, Ruminococcus, Parasutterella, Lachnoclostridium, Butyricicoccus and Blautia. Aging was found to cause dramatic composition changes. Some of the conserved aging changes in both the Tgf344-AD rats and the control WT rats were decrease in Enterohaldus, Bartonella, Escherichia Shigella and increase in Turibacter, Romboustia, Clostrium_senso_strato. PICRUSt2 was used to determine the differences in functional profile of the gut microbial communities. Our study has demonstrated for the first time, gut microbiome changes in an Alzheimer’s disease rat model and aging changes in the F344 rats



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