Age-associated deficits in social behaviour are microbiota-dependent

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Cruz-Pereira, Joana S.
Moloney, Gerard M.
Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F. S.
Boscaini, Serena
Fitzgerald, Patrick
Clarke, Gerard
Cryan, John F.
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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.
Aging , Microbiome , Social behaviour , Metabolites
Cruz-Pereira, J.S., Moloney, G.M., Bastiaanssen, T.F.S., Boscaini, S., Fitzgerald, P., Clarke, G. and Cryan, J.F. (2023) ‘Age-associated deficits in social behaviour are microbiota-dependent’, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 110, pp. 119–124. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2023.02.008