Testing the effect of Intermittent fasting on anxiety and inflammation in rats with altered gut microbiota

Name: Nivedita Rathaur
Majors: Biology, Economics
Advisors: Dr. Sharon Lynn and Dr. Huiting Tian

The impact of intermittent fasting (IF) on stress was determined by considering anxiety-levels (measured by Elevated Plus Maze and Open Field Test) and plasma IL-6 levels (after acute restraint stress) in male Sprague Dawley rats. The impacts of IF were hypothesized to be mitigated by gut microbiota in the rats, and rats with antibiotic-altered gut microbiota were expected to have higher anxiety and IL-6 levels. Rats were divided into IF, control, IF + antibiotics (ab), and control + ab groups, with IF groups receiving food for eight hours per day on average, and control groups receiving food ad. Libitum over eight weeks. An antibiotic cocktail was delivered in drinking water each week to alter gut microbiota. One-way ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests revealed no significant differences in anxiety levels between groups, indicating that IF did not reduce anxiety in the absence of acute stressors. There was insufficient evidence to determine the impacts of IF on IL-6 levels or determine whether IF impacted stress via the gut microbiota. Collectively, these findings suggest that while IF does not impact anxiety-levels in the absence of acute stress, it is possible that it could impact stress and inflammation responses if acute stress is present. Since intermittent fasting, if it is able to successfully mitigate stress and inflammation in the presence of acute stress, could provide a highly cost-effective method to prevent and help mitigate deadly diseases, further research is warranted. Future research could include alternative methods to modify gut microbiota and measure IL-6 levels.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.

3 responses to “Testing the effect of Intermittent fasting on anxiety and inflammation in rats with altered gut microbiota”

  1. Dante King says:

    Hi Nivedita! Fantastic job! I can tell that a lot of time and effort went into this study. Thank you so much for sharing your method and findings! Best wishes for what’s ahead! 🙂

  2. Brooke Krause says:

    So cool to see how your IS came together, Nivedita! Congrats!

  3. Aubry Miller says:

    Congrats Niv! It was so cool hearing about your project!

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