Volatility as a concept to understand the impact of stress on the microbiome

Thumbnail Image
Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F. S.
Gururajan, Anand
van de Wouw, Marcel
Moloney, Gerard M.
Ritz, Nathaniel L.
Long-Smith, Caitriona M.
Wiley, Niamh
Murphy, Amy
Lyte, Joshua M.
Fouhy, Fiona
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The microbiome-gut-brain-axis is a complex phenomenon spanning several dynamic systems in the body which can be parsed at a molecular, cellular, physiological and ecological level. A growing body of evidence indicates that this axis is particularly sensitive to the effects of stress and that it may be relevant to stress resilience and susceptibility. Although stress-induced changes in the composition of the microbiome have been reported, the degree of compositional change over time, which we define as volatility, has not been the subject of in-depth scrutiny. Using a chronic psychosocial stress paradigm in male mice, we report that the volatility of the microbiome significantly correlated with several readouts of the stress response, including behaviour and corticosterone response. We then validated these findings in a second independent group of stressed mice. Additionally, we assessed the relationship between volatility and stress parameters in a cohort of health volunteers who were undergoing academic exams and report similar observations. Finally, we found inter-species similarities in the microbiome stress response on a functional level. Our research highlights the effects of stress on the dynamic microbiome and underscores the informative value of volatility as a parameter that should be considered in all future analyses of the microbiome.
Chronic stress , Microbiome , Gut-brain axis , Volatility , Corticosterone
Bastiaanssen, T. F. S., Gururajan, A., van de Wouw, M., Moloney, G. M., Ritz, N. L., Long-Smith, C. M., Wiley, N., Murphy, A., Lyte, J. M., Fouhy, F., Stanton, C., Claesson, M. J., Dinan, T. G. and Cryan, J. F. (2021) 'Volatility as a concept to understand the impact of stress on the microbiome', Psychoneuroendocrinology, 124, 105047 (13pp). doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.105047