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

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Hoban, Alan E.
Moloney, Rachel D.
Golubeva, Anna V.
McVey Neufeld, Karen A.
O'Sullivan, Orla
Patterson, Elaine
Stanton, Catherine
Dinan, Timothy G.
Clarke, Gerard
Cryan, John F.
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Elsevier Ltd.
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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 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 Sprague Dawley 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, increased visceral sensitivity and a greater display of depressive-like behaviours in the forced swim test. In tandem with these clear behavioural alterations we found change 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 BDNF, a hallmark of altered microbiota-gut-brain axis signaling. 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.
Colonization , Brain development , Brain function , Behaviour , Antibiotic , Depletion , Gut bacteria , Gut microbiota , Gut-brain communication , Spatial memory , Visceral sensitivity , Serotonin , Cognition , Brain monoamines , Depressive-like behaviours
Hoban, A. E., Moloney, R. D., Golubeva, A. V., McVey Neufeld, K. A., O’Sullivan, O., Patterson, E., Stanton, C., Dinan, T. G., Clarke, G. and Cryan, J. F. (2016) 'Behavioural and neurochemical consequences of chronic gut microbiota depletion during adulthood in the rat', Neuroscience, 339, pp. 463-477. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.10.003