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Surveys report that 25–57 % of cats are overweight or obese. The most evinced cause is neutering. Weight loss often fails; thus, new strategies are needed. Obesity has been associated with altered gut bacterial populations and increases in microbial dietary energy extraction, body weight and adiposity. This study aimed to determine whether alterations in intestinal bacteria were associated with obesity, energy restriction and neutering by characterising faecal microbiota using 16S rRNA gene sequencing in eight lean intact, eight lean neutered and eight obese neutered cats before and after 6 weeks of energy restriction. Lean neutered cats had a bacterial profile similar to obese rodents and humans, with a greater abundance (P<0·05) of Firmicutes and lower abundance (P<0·05) of Bacteroidetes compared with the other groups. The greater abundance of Firmicutes in lean neutered cats was due to a bloom in Peptostreptococcaceae. Obese cats had an 18 % reduction in fat mass after energy restriction (P<0·05). Energy reduction was concurrent with significant shifts in two low-abundance bacterial genera and trends in four additional genera. The greatest change was a reduction in the Firmicutes genus, Sarcina, from 4·54 to 0·65 % abundance after energy restriction. The short duration of energy restriction may explain why few bacterial changes were observed in the obese cats. Additional work is needed to understand how neutering, obesity and weight loss are related to changes in feline microbiota and how these microbial shifts affect host physiology.
The predisposition of cats to gain weight following neutering is well established; however, there is little information about the distribution and range of post-neutering weight gains observed in cats under a controlled environment. This retrospective study investigated 6-month post-castration weight gain and distribution of percentage body weight (BW) change in a cohort of twenty, male domestic shorthair cats relative to a control group of intact cats. Cats were matched in age (2·0–2·6 years), husbandry conditions and consumed ad libitum the same dry maintenance diet for at least 3 months prior to and 6 months following castration. All cats were castrated within 48 h of each other. All cats gained weight after castration. Mean BW was 4·67 (sd 0·70) kg at the start of the study and 5·93 (sd 1·38) kg at the end of the study, with individual weight gain ranging 3–53 % at 6 months post-neutering. The pre-conception BW of the queens of each cat was compared with the pre- and post-neutering BW of their offspring. The pre-conception BW of the queens was significantly correlated with the offspring's initial BW (ρ = 0·65, P = 0·01), final BW (ρ = 0·67, P = 0·01) and percentage BW change (ρ = 0·54, P = 0·04). A wide range of post-castration weight gains was observed among cats of similar backgrounds and housing conditions. Implementation of effective methods to control food consumption pre-conception and post-neutering may be a strategy for preventing obesity and obesity-related disorders in cats.
To comprehensively investigate the genetic architecture of growth and obesity, we performed Bayesian analyses of multiple epistatic quantitative trait locus (QTL) models for body weights at five ages (12 days, 3, 6, 9 and 12 weeks) and body composition traits (weights of two fat pads and five organs) in mice produced from a cross of the F1 between M16i (selected for rapid growth rate) and CAST/Ei (wild-derived strain of small and lean mice) back to M16i. Bayesian model selection revealed a temporally regulated network of multiple QTL for body weight, involving both strong main effects and epistatic effects. No QTL had strong support for both early and late growth, although overlapping combinations of main and epistatic effects were observed at adjacent ages. Most main effects and epistatic interactions had an opposite effect on early and late growth. The contribution of epistasis was more pronounced for body weights at older ages. Body composition traits were also influenced by an interacting network of multiple QTLs. Several main and epistatic effects were shared by the body composition and body weight traits, suggesting that pleiotropy plays an important role in growth and obesity.
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