• Food for thought: The role of nutrition in the microbiota-gut–brain axis

      Oriach, Clara Seira; Robertson, Ruairi C.; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board of Ireland; Sea Change Strategy; NutraMara programme; SMART FOOD project; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2016-04)
      Recent research has provided strong evidence for the role of the commensal gut microbiota in brain function and behaviour. Many potential pathways are involved in this bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain such as immune mechanisms, the vagus nerve and microbial neurometabolite production. Dysbiosis of gut microbial function has been associated with behavioural and neurophysical deficits, therefore research focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut microbiota is rapidly growing. Numerous factors can influence the gut microbiota composition such as health status, mode of birth delivery and genetics, but diet is considered among the most crucial factors impacting on the human gut microbiota from infancy to old age. Thus, dietary interventions may have the potential to modulate psychiatric symptoms associated with gut–brain axis dysfunction. Further clinical and in vivo studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the link between nutrition, gut microbiota and control of behaviour and mental health.
    • Maternal omega-3 fatty acids regulate offspring obesity through persistent modulation of gut microbiota

      Robertson, Ruairi C; Kaliannan, Kanakaraju; Strain, Conall R.; Ross, R Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Kang, Jing X.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board; NutraMara programme; SMART FOOD project; et al. (BMC, 2018-05-24)
      Background: The early-life gut microbiota plays a critical role in host metabolism in later life. However, little is known about how the fatty acid profile of the maternal diet during gestation and lactation influences the development of the offspring gut microbiota and subsequent metabolic health outcomes. Results: Here, using a unique transgenic model, we report that maternal endogenous n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) production during gestation or lactation significantly reduces weight gain and markers of metabolic disruption in male murine offspring fed a high-fat diet. However, maternal fatty acid status appeared to have no significant effect on weight gain in female offspring. The metabolic phenotypes in male offspring appeared to be mediated by comprehensive restructuring of gut microbiota composition. Reduced maternal n-3 PUFA exposure led to significantly depleted Epsilonproteobacteria, Bacteroides, and Akkermansia and higher relative abundance of Clostridia. Interestingly, offspring metabolism and microbiota composition were more profoundly influenced by the maternal fatty acid profile during lactation than in utero. Furthermore, the maternal fatty acid profile appeared to have a long-lasting effect on offspring microbiota composition and function that persisted into adulthood after life-long high-fat diet feeding. Conclusions: Our data provide novel evidence that weight gain and metabolic dysfunction in adulthood is mediated by maternal fatty acid status through long-lasting restructuring of the gut microbiota. These results have important implications for understanding the interaction between modern Western diets, metabolic health, and the intestinal microbiome.