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Maternal weaning modulates emotional behavior and regulates the gut-brain axis

Farshim, P., Walton, G. ORCID:, Chakrabarti, B. ORCID:, Givens, I. ORCID:, Saddy, D. ORCID:, Kitchen, I., Swann, J. R. and Bailey, A. (2016) Maternal weaning modulates emotional behavior and regulates the gut-brain axis. Scientific Reports, 6. 21958. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/srep21958


Evidence shows that nutritional and environmental stress stimuli during postnatal period influence brain development and interactions between gut and brain. In this study we show that in rats, prevention of weaning from maternal milk results in depressive-like behavior, which is accompanied by changes in the gut bacteria and host metabolism. Depressive-like behavior was studied using the forced-swim test on postnatal day (PND) 25 in rats either weaned on PND 21, or left with their mother until PND 25 (non-weaned). Non-weaned rats showed an increased immobility time consistent with a depressive phenotype. Fluorescence in situ hybridization showed non-weaned rats to harbor significantly lowered Clostridium histolyticum bacterial groups but exhibit marked stress-induced increases. Metabonomic analysis of urine from these animals revealed significant differences in the metabolic profiles, with biochemical phenotypes indicative of depression in the non-weaned animals. In addition, non-weaned rats showed resistance to stress-induced modulation of oxytocin receptors in amygdala nuclei, which is indicative of passive stress-coping mechanism. We conclude that delaying weaning results in alterations to the gut microbiota and global metabolic profiles which may contribute to a depressive phenotype and raise the issue that mood disorders at early developmental ages may reflect interplay between mammalian host and resident bacteria.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH)
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
ID Code:54863
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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