Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 6, pp 2791–2801 | Cite as

Modulation of gut microbiota by dietary supplementation with tuna oil and algae oil alleviates the effects of D-galactose-induced ageing

  • Hongyan Zhang
  • Yanyan Li
  • Chenxi Cui
  • Tingting Sun
  • Jiaojiao Han
  • Dijun Zhang
  • Chenyang LuEmail author
  • Jun Zhou
  • Lingzhi Cheong
  • Ye Li
  • Xiurong SuEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


Previous studies have shown that dietary supplementation with tuna oil and algae oil can alleviate the effects of ageing on learning and memory in mouse models, but the mechanism of this effect remains unknown. This study aimed to determine whether dietary oil supplementation alters the composition of the gut microbiota during the prevention of age-related effects on cognition. Ageing mice received dietary oil supplementation continuously for 12 weeks. The supplementation was found to improve the animals’ learning and cognition, and this effect was most marked in the TO200AO400 group, which received a 1:2 mixture of tuna oil and algae oil at 600 mg kg−1 day−1. Next-generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene present in faecal samples showed that the gut microbiota varied in the groups that received different oil treatments; the TO200AO400 treatment most closely restored the composition of the D-galactose-altered gut microbiota to that of the control. Moreover, 83 altered operational taxonomic units (OTUs) responsive to dietary oil supplementation were identified; five of these differed in one or more parameters associated with host ageing. In conclusion, this study confirmed the effect of dietary oil supplementation on the alleviation of age-related decline in cognitive function and showed that oil supplementation results in alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota. Further research will be needed to elucidate the causal relationship between the reversal of age-related cognitive decline and gut microbiota modulation and to explore the potential of gut microbial communities as a diagnostic biomarker and a therapeutic target in ageing.


Ageing Tuna oil Algae oil Mixture Gut microbiota 



We thank Nature Research Editing Service for English language editing.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Regional Demonstration Project of Marine Economic Innovation and Development in 2014 and 2016, the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (Y18C010005), the Open Research Fund of Key Laboratory of Animal Protein Food Processing Technology of Zhejiang Province and the K.C. Wong Magna Fund in Ningbo University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All experimental procedures and animal care were performed in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals prepared by the Ningbo University Laboratory Animal Center (affiliated with the Zhejiang Laboratory Animal Common Service Platform), and all the animal protocols were approved by the Ningbo University Laboratory Animal Center under permit number No. SYXK (ZHE 2008-0110).

Supplementary material

253_2018_8775_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (956 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 955 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongyan Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanyan Li
    • 2
  • Chenxi Cui
    • 1
  • Tingting Sun
    • 1
  • Jiaojiao Han
    • 1
  • Dijun Zhang
    • 1
  • Chenyang Lu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jun Zhou
    • 1
  • Lingzhi Cheong
    • 1
  • Ye Li
    • 1
  • Xiurong Su
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Marine ScienceNingbo UniversityNingboPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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