The anxiolytic effect of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 involves vagal pathway for gut-brain communication

Department of Medicine, Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
Neurogastroenterology and Motility (Impact Factor: 3.59). 12/2011; 23(12):1132-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01796.x
Source: PubMed


The probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalizes anxiety-like behavior and hippocampal brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in mice with infectious colitis. Using a model of chemical colitis we test whether the anxiolytic effect of B. longum involves vagal integrity, and changes in neural cell function. Methods  Mice received dextran sodium sulfate (DSS, 3%) in drinking water during three 1-week cycles. Bifidobacterium longum or placebo were gavaged daily during the last cycle. Some mice underwent subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. Behavior was assessed by step-down test, inflammation by myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and histology. BDNF mRNA was measured in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells after incubation with sera from B. longum- or placebo-treated mice. The effect of B. longum on myenteric neuron excitability was measured using intracellular microelectrodes.
Chronic colitis was associated with anxiety-like behavior, which was absent in previously vagotomized mice. B. longum normalized behavior but had no effect on MPO activity or histological scores. Its anxiolytic effect was absent in mice with established anxiety that were vagotomized before the third DSS cycle. B. longum metabolites did not affect BDNF mRNA expression in SH-SY5Y cells but decreased excitability of enteric neurons.
In this colitis model, anxiety-like behavior is vagally mediated. The anxiolytic effect of B. longum requires vagal integrity but does not involve gut immuno-modulation or production of BDNF by neuronal cells. As B. longum decreases excitability of enteric neurons, it may signal to the central nervous system by activating vagal pathways at the level of the enteric nervous system.

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Available from: Amber J. Park, Oct 02, 2014
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    • "Both Bifidobacterium longum 1714 and Bifidobacterium breve 1205 reduce anxiety-like behavior in an anxious mouse strain (Savignac et al., 2014). It has also been reported that the administration of probiotics restores monoamine levels in key brain regions of rats in a maternal separation (MS) model of depression (Bercik et al., 2011; Desbonnet et al., 2010). Also, probiotics have been shown to alter behavior and CNS function in naïve adult animals (Moloney et al., 2014). "
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    • "Similarly, probiotic treatment has been shown to be beneficial in animal models of infection and colitis (Bercik et al., 2010, 2011b). Specifically, administration of L. rhamnosous for 10 days normalized anxiety-like behavior induced by the parasite Trichuris muris (Bercik et al., 2011b) and administration of B. longum for 14 days normalized anxiety-like behavior induced by dextran sodium sulphate colitis (Bercik et al., 2011b). Interestingly, a few studies have reported a change in behavior when probiotics are administered to healthy rodents. "

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    • "In the same study, treatment with probiotics failed to have an ameliorative effect on the behaviour of vagotomised mice, illustrating the significance of this pathway. Similar findings have since been found for other substances such as the previously mentioned probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum[63]. However, in Bercik's study of Trichus muris on mice behaviour, vagotomy before infection failed to prevent anxiety-like behaviour, suggesting other vagus-independent mechanisms are in play. "

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