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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 Feb;28(2):307-316. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.12.004.

The vagus nerve modulates BDNF expression and neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. Electronic address: o.oleary@ucc.ie.
2
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
3
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
4
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
5
The McMaster Brain-Body Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6; Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health and Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6.
6
The McMaster Brain-Body Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6; Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6.
7
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that certain gut microbiota have antidepressant-like behavioural effects and that the microbiota can regulate neurogenesis and the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus. The precise mechanisms underlying these effects are not yet clear. However, the vagus nerve is one of the primary bidirectional routes of communication between the gut and the brain and thus may represent a candidate mechanism. Yet, relatively little is known about the direct influence of vagus nerve activity on hippocampal function and plasticity. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether constitutive vagus nerve activity contributes to the regulation of neurogenesis and BDNF mRNA expression in the hippocampus. To this end, we examined the impact of subdiaphragmatic vagotomy in adult mice on these parameters. We found that vagotomy decreased BDNF mRNA in all areas of the hippocampus. Vagotomy also reduced the proliferation and survival of newly born cells and decreased the number of immature neurons, particularly those with a more complex dendritic morphology. Taken together, these findings suggest that vagal nerve activity influences neurogenesis and BDNF mRNA expression in the adult hippocampus.

KEYWORDS:

BDNF; Dorsal hippocampus; Microbiota; Neurogenesis; Vagus nerve; Ventral hippocampus

PMID:
29426666
DOI:
10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.12.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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