Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function

This 2015 Canadian rodent study found:

“Chronic social defeat induced behavioral changes that were associated with reduced richness and diversity of the gut microbial community.

The degree of deficits in social, but not exploratory behavior, was correlated with group differences between the microbial community profile.

Defeated mice also exhibited reduced abundance of pathways involved in biosynthesis and metabolism of tyrosine and tryptophan: molecules that serve as precursors for synthesis of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and melatonin, respectively.

This study indicates that stress-induced disruptions in neurologic function are associated with altered immunoregulatory responses.”

These researchers had an extensive Discussion section where they placed study findings in contexts with other rodent and human studies. For example:

“Our analyses also predicted reduced frequency of fatty acid biosynthesis and metabolism pathways, including that of propanoate and butanoate – byproducts of dietary carbohydrate fermentation by intestinal microorganisms.

Butyrate is a potent histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor that exerts antidepressant-like effects by increasing histone acetylation in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, and consequentially, raising BDNF transcript levels.

Although it was previously unclear whether systemic levels of these metabolites achieved in vivo were sufficient to produce behavioral changes, progress has been made by discovering their presence in cerebrospinal fluid and the brain, and demonstrating that colon-derived SCFAs [short chain fatty acids] cross the blood–brain barrier and preferentially accumulate in the hypothalamus, where they can affect CNS activity.” “Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host”

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