Jing Wen, Tingbei Bo, Xueying Zhang, Zuoxin Wang, and Dehua Wang
Ambient temperature and food composition can affect energy metabolism of the host. Thermal transient receptor potential (thermo-TRPs) ion channels can detect temperature signals and are involved in the regulation of thermogenesis and energy homeostasis. Further, the gut microbiota has also been implicated in thermogenesis and obesity. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that thermo-TRPs and gut microbiota are involved in reducing diet-induced obesity (DIO) during low temperature exposure. C57BL/6J mice in obese (body mass gain >45%), lean (body mass gain <15%), and control (body mass gain<1%) groups were exposed to high (23±1°C) or low (4±1°C) ambient temperature for 28 days. Our data showed that low temperature exposure attenuated DIO, but enhanced brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. Low temperature exposure also resulted in increased norepinephrine (NE) concentrations in the hypothalamus, decreased TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) expression in the small intestine, and altered composition and diversity of gut microbiota. In DIO mice, there was a decrease in overall energy intake along with a reduction in TRP ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) expression and an increase in NE concentration in the small intestine. DIO mice also showed increases in Oscillospira, [Ruminococcus], Lactococcus, and Christensenella and decreases in Prevotella, Odoribacter, and Lactobacillus at the genus level in fecal samples. Together, our data suggest that thermos-TRPs and gut microbiota are involved in thermogenesis and energy metabolism during low temperature exposure in DIO mice.