Psychiatry - Journal Articles

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    A biological framework for emotional dysregulation in alcohol misuse: from gut to brain
    (Springer Nature Ltd., 2020-12-07) Carbia, Carina; Lannoy, Séverine; Maurage, Pierre; López-Caneda, Eduardo; O'Riordan, Kenneth J.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Horizon 2020; Belgian American Educational Foundation; Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS; Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
    Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been associated with impairments in social and emotional cognition that play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of addiction. Repeated alcohol intoxications trigger inflammatory processes and sensitise the immune system. In addition, emerging data point to perturbations in the gut microbiome as a key regulator of the inflammatory cascade in AUD. Inflammation and social cognition are potent modulators of one another. At the same time, accumulating evidence implicates the gut microbiome in shaping emotional and social cognition, suggesting the possibility of a common underlying loop of crucial importance for addiction. Here we propose an integrative microbiome neuro-immuno-affective framework of how emotional dysregulation and alcohol-related microbiome dysbiosis could accelerate the cycle of addiction. We outline the overlapping effects of chronic alcohol use, inflammation and microbiome alterations on the fronto-limbic circuitry as a convergence hub for emotional dysregulation. We discuss the interdependent relationship of social cognition, immunity and the microbiome in relation to alcohol misuse- from binge drinking to addiction. In addition, we emphasise adolescence as a sensitive period for the confluence of alcohol harmful effects and emotional dysregulation in the developing gut-brain axis.
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    The microbiome-gut-brain axis regulates social cognition and craving in young binge drinkers
    (Elsevier B.V., 2023-03-10) Carbia, Carina; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F. S.; Iannone, Luigi Francesco; García-Cabrerizo, Rubén; Boscaini, Serena; Berding, Kirsten; Strain, Conall R.; Clarke, Gerard; Stanton, Catherine; Dinan, Timothy G.; Noonan, John F.; Horizon 2020; Science Foundation Ireland
    Background: Binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This pattern of consumption is highly prevalent during the crucial developmental period of adolescence. Recently, the severity of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) has been linked with microbiome alterations suggesting a role for the gut microbiome in its development. Furthermore, a strong link has emerged too between microbiome composition and socio-emotional functioning across different disorders including AUD. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential link (and its predictive value) between alcohol-related altered microbial profile, social cognition, impulsivity and craving. Methods: Young people (N = 71) aged 18–25 reported their alcohol use and underwent a neuropsychological evaluation. Craving was measured at baseline and three months later. Diet was controlled for. Blood, saliva and hair samples were taken for inflammatory, kynurenine and cortisol analysis. Stool samples were provided for shotgun metagenomic sequencing and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were measured. Findings: Binge drinking was associated with distinct microbiome alterations and emotional recognition difficulties. Associations were found for several microbiome species with emotional processing and impulsivity. Craving showed a strong link with alterations in microbiome composition and neuroactive potential over time. Interpretation: In conclusion, this research demonstrates alterations in the gut microbiome of young binge drinkers (BDs) and identifies early biomarkers of craving. Associations between emotional processing and microbiome composition further support the growing literature on the gut microbiome as a regulator of social cognition. These findings are of relevance for new gut-derived interventions directed at improving early alcohol-related alterations during the vulnerability period of adolescence.
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    Priming for life: Early life nutrition and the microbiota-gut-brain axis
    (MDPI, 2021-01-28T00:00:00Z) Ratsika, Anna; Codagnone, Martin C.; O'Mahony, Siobhain; Stanton, Catherine; Cryan, John F.; Horizon 2020; Science Foundation Ireland
    Microbes colonize the human body during the first moments of life and coexist with the host throughout the lifespan. Intestinal microbiota and their metabolites aid in the programming of important bodily systems such as the immune and the central nervous system during critical temporal windows of development, with possible structural and functional implications throughout the lifespan. These critical developmental windows perinatally (during the first 1000 days) are susceptible timepoints for insults that can endure long lasting effects on the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Environmental and parental factors like host genetics, mental health, nutrition, delivery and feeding mode, exposure to antibiotics, immune activation and microbiota composition antenatally, are all factors that are able to modulate the microbiota composition of mother and infant and may thus regulate important bodily functions. Among all these factors, early life nutrition plays a pivotal role in perinatal programming and in the modulation of offspring microbiota from birth throughout lifespan. This review aims to present current data on the impact of early life nutrition and microbiota priming of important bodily systems and all the factors influencing the microbial coexistence with the host during early life development.
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    Age-associated deficits in social behaviour are microbiota-dependent
    (Elsevier, 2023) Cruz-Pereira, Joana S.; Moloney, Gerard M.; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F. S.; Boscaini, Serena; Fitzgerald, Patrick; Clarke, Gerard; Cryan, John F.; Science Foundation Ireland; Saks-Kavanaugh Foundation; Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung
    Aging is associated with remodelling of immune and central nervous system responses resulting in behavioural impairments including social deficits. Growing evidence suggests that the gut microbiome is also impacted by aging, and we propose that strategies to reshape the aged gut microbiome may ameliorate some age-related effects on host physiology. Thus, we assessed the impact of gut microbiota depletion, using an antibiotic cocktail, on aging and its impact on social behavior and the immune system. Indeed, microbiota depletion in aged mice eliminated the age-dependent deficits in social recognition. We further demonstrate that although age and gut microbiota depletion differently shape the peripheral immune response, aging induces an accumulation of T cells in the choroid plexus, that is partially blunted following microbiota depletion. Moreover, an untargeted metabolomic analysis revealed age-dependent alterations of cecal metabolites that are reshaped by gut microbiota depletion. Together, our results suggest that the aged gut microbiota can be specifically targeted to affect social deficits. These studies propel the need for future investigations of other non-antibiotic microbiota targeted interventions on age-related social deficits both in animal models and humans.
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    Stress during puberty exerts sex-specific effects on depressive-like behavior and monoamine neurotransmitters in adolescence and adulthood
    (Elsevier Inc., 2022-10-07) Harris, Erin P.; Villalobos-Manriquez, Francisca; Melo, Thieza G.; Clarke, Gerard; O'Leary, Olivia F.; Health Research Board; Science Foundation Ireland
    Psychiatric disorders including major depression are twice as prevalent in women compared to men. This sex difference in prevalence only emerges after the onset of puberty, suggesting that puberty may be a sensitive period during which sex-associated vulnerability to stress-related depression might become established. Thus, this study investigated whether stress occurring specifically during the pubertal window of adolescence may be responsible for this sex difference in depression vulnerability. Male and female rats were exposed to a three-day stress protocol during puberty (postnatal days 35–37 in females, 45–47 in males) and underwent behavioral tests in adolescence or adulthood measuring anhedonia, anxiety-like behavior, locomotor activity and antidepressant-like behavior. Brainstem and striatum tissue were collected from a separate cohort of behavioral test-naïve rats in adolescence or adulthood to quantify the effect of pubertal stress on monoamine neurotransmitters. Pubertal stress increased immobility behavior in the forced swim test in both sexes in adolescence and adulthood. In adolescence, pubertal stress altered escape-oriented behaviors in a sex-specific manner: decreasing climbing in males but not females and decreasing swimming in females but not males. Pubertal stress decreased adolescent brainstem noradrenaline specifically in females and had opposing effects in adolescent males and females on brainstem serotonin turnover. Pubertal stress induced anhedonia in the saccharin preference test in adult males but not females, an effect paralleled by a male-specific decrease in striatal dopamine turnover. Pubertal stress did not significantly impact anxiety-like behavior or locomotor activity in any sex at either age. Taken together, these data suggest that although pubertal stress did not preferentially increase female vulnerability to depressive-like behaviors compared to males, stress during puberty exerts sex-specific effects on depressive-like behavior and anhedonia, possibly through discrete neurotransmitter systems.