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Neuroscience. 2016 Dec 17;339:463-477. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.10.003. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Behavioural and neurochemical consequences of chronic gut microbiota depletion during adulthood in the rat.

Author information

1
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland; Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland.
2
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland.
3
Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Cork, Ireland.
4
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Ireland.
5
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland; Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland. Electronic address: j.cryan@ucc.ie.

Abstract

Gut microbiota colonization is a key event for host physiology that occurs early in life. Disruption of this process leads to altered brain development which ultimately manifests as changes in brain function and behaviour in adulthood. Studies using germ-free (GF) mice highlight the extreme impact on brain health that results from life without commensal microbes. However, the impact of microbiota disturbances occurring in adulthood is less studied. To this end, we depleted the gut microbiota of 10-week-old male SpragueDawley rats via chronic antibiotic treatment. Following this marked, sustained depletion of the gut bacteria, we investigated behavioural and molecular hallmarks of gut-brain communication. Our results reveal that depletion of the gut microbiota during adulthood results in deficits in spatial memory as tested by Morris water maze, decreased visceral sensitivity and a greater display of depressive-like behaviours in the forced swim test. In tandem with these clear behavioural alterations we found changes in altered CNS serotonin concentration along with changes in the mRNA levels of corticotrophin releasing hormone receptor 1 and glucocorticoid receptor. Additionally, we found changes in the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a hallmark of altered microbiota-gut-brain axis signalling. In summary, this model of antibiotic-induced depletion of the gut microbiota can be used for future studies interested in the impact of the gut microbiota on host health without the confounding developmental influence of early-life microbial alterations.

KEYWORDS:

antibiotics; brain monoamines; cognition; depressive-like behaviours; gut microbiota; visceral sensitivity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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