• Enduring neurobehavioral effects induced by microbiota depletion during the adolescent period

      Lach, Gilliard; Fülling, Christine; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F. S.; Fouhy, Fiona; Donovan, Aoife N. O’; Ventura-Silva, Ana Paula; Stanton, Catherine; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Science Foundation Ireland; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-11-06)
      The gut microbiota is an essential regulator of many aspects of host physiology. Disruption of gut microbial communities affects gut-brain communication which ultimately can manifest as changes in brain function and behaviour. Transient changes in gut microbial composition can be induced by various intrinsic and extrinsic factors, however, it is possible that enduring shifts in the microbiota composition can be achieved by perturbation at a timepoint when the gut microbiota has not fully matured or is generally unstable, such as during early life or ageing. In this study, we investigated the effects of 3-week microbiota depletion with antibiotic treatment during the adolescent period and in adulthood. Following a washout period to restore the gut microbiota, behavioural and molecular hallmarks of gut-brain communication were investigated. Our data revealed that transient microbiota depletion had long-lasting effects on microbiota composition and increased anxiety-like behaviour in mice exposed to antibiotic treatment during adolescence but not in adulthood. Similarly, gene expression in the amygdala was more severely affected in mice treated during adolescence. Taken together these data highlight the vulnerability of the gut microbiota during the critical adolescent period and the long-lasting impact manipulations of the microbiota can have on gene expression and behaviour in adulthood.