METHODS: A cross-over study within a split-plot design was performed using healthy (n = 10) and CKD cats [IRIS Stage 1 and 2; n = 10]. Cats were fed dry Prescription Diet® k/d® Feline with chicken, during a pre-trial period and then randomly assigned to two fiber treatments for 4 weeks each. Treatment foods were formulated similar to pre-trial food, with the exception that they contained 0.500% betaine, 0.586% oat beta glucan, and either 0.407% short chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS) fiber or 3.44% apple pomace. Both foods had similar crude fiber percent (2.0 and 2.1% for scFOS and apple pomace, respectively) whereas soluble fiber was 0.8 and 1.6%, respectively.
RESULTS: Plasma metabolites separated cats based on health status. At baseline, cats with CKD had significantly higher circulating concentrations of creatinine, urea, and some microbial and host tryptophan metabolites including several indole sulfates and kynurenate. Healthy cats had higher concentrations of the antioxidant α-tocopherol after consuming apple pomace; alternatively, they had higher concentrations of inflammatory sphingolipid metabolites after consuming scFOS, but not after consuming apple pomace. The CKD cats had higher concentrations of the more oxidized glutathione metabolites after consuming apple pomace compared with scFOS, as well as higher concentrations of inflammatory sphingolipid metabolites after consuming apple pomace, but not scFOS. After consuming scFOS, CKD cats had lower concentrations of the phenolic uremic toxins guaiacol sulfate and 4-vinylphenol sulfate compared with after consuming apple pomace. At baseline, there were five significant microbiota OTU differences in CKD cats compared with healthy cats. Overall, the OTUs in CKD cats were more resistant to change after feeding either fiber source. Counts of an unclassified genus in the family S24-7 in the order Bacteroidales (OTU 100296), were lower in CKD cats compared with healthy cats at baseline (P = 0.001), but increased after consumption of food containing scFOS (P = 0.006). Linear regression analysis showed that this genus had significant negative correlations with several microbial uremic toxins. None of the baseline differences in OTUs between healthy and CKD cats changed after CKD cats consumed food containing apple pomace.
CONCLUSIONS: Health status impacts the influence of dietary fermentable fibers on the feline plasma metabolome and fecal microbiome. A more readily fermented fiber such as scFOS is preferable to apple pomace as a fiber source for cats with CKD.