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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Immune response and gut microbiota of mice on a diet mimicking eating habits of elderly with risk of malnutrition development

Hakansson, Asa; Megaelectra, Afina Nuur Farma; Persson, Jenny; Zhang, Su; Alsanius, Beatrix; Olsson, Marie; Jeppsson, Bengt


The number of elderlies is increasing but prevalence of malnutrition has been reported. The aim of the study was to determine the significance of short-term nutritional deficiencies in mice. Immune status was assessed through flow cytometry of leucocytes in Peyer's patches (PP) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), and intestinal microbiota was evaluated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). C57BL/6NCrl mice fed standard diet (StD) or experimental diet high in fat, and low in carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals (ExpD) for 2 or 4 weeks. ExpD-animals gained less weight, increased liver lipids, and developed splenomegaly. Diet affected regulatory T-cells, gut homing receptors and TLR2 and TLR4 in PP and MLN and the microbiota was influenced. Partial least squares models on flow cytometry- and T-RFLP data demonstrated correlations between microbial communities and immune phenotyping. Our model shows similarities to malnourished elderly and interactions between intestinal bacteria and the immune system.


Diet; malnutrition; elderly; microbiota; immune responses

Published in

International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
2021, volume: 72, number: 8, pages: 1071-1082

Authors' information

Hakansson, Asa
Lund University
Megaelectra, Afina Nuur Farma
Lund University
Persson, Jenny
Lund University
Zhang, Su
Skane University Hospital
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Jeppsson, Bengt
Skane University Hospital

UKÄ Subject classification

Nutrition and Dietetics

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