The Aging Gut Microbiota

  • Erin S. Keebaugh
  • Leslie D. Williams
  • William W. JaEmail author


Researchers have detailed changes in host–intestinal microbe homeostasis in elderly humans, but it is not clear whether gut microbiota influence these changes, or if maintaining intestinal homeostasis would support overall health with age. Insight into age-related changes in hosts and their microbiota has been gained by studying vertebrate models such as mice, rats, and African turquoise killifish, and invertebrates, including Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Studies using aged, germ-free models show that intestinal microbiota do not initiate all age-related pathologies, suggesting that host-specific changes may be a factor in declining host–intestinal microbe homeostasis with age. Although it is not clear how model-based host–intestinal microbe research applies to the elderly, understanding the interplay between aging hosts and gut microbiota will be critical toward the design of therapeutic interventions. Since research on aging microbiota systems is an emerging field, further developments may come through attempts to translate model findings to humans.


Aging microbiome Inflammaging Intestinal permeability Healthy aging Age-associated dysbiosis Model organisms 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin S. Keebaugh
    • 1
  • Leslie D. Williams
    • 1
  • William W. Ja
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeuroscienceCenter on Aging, The Scripps Research InstituteJupiterUSA

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