Psychobiotics are probiotic strains that confer mental health benefits to the host through the modulation of the gut microbial population. Mounting evidence shows that the gut microbiota play an important role in communication within the gut–brain axis. However, the relationship between the host genetics and the gut microbiota and their influence on anxiety are still not fully understood. Hence, in our research, we attempted to draw a connection between host genetics, microbiota composition, and anxiety by performing an elevated plus maze (EPM) test on four genetically different mice. Four different breeds of 5-week-old mice were used in this experiment: Balb/c, Orient C57BL/6N, Taconic C57BL/6N, and Taconic C57BL/6J. After 1 week of adaptation, their initial anxiety level was monitored using the EPM test via an EthoVision XT, a standardized software used for behavorial testing. Significant differences in the initial anxiety level and microbial composition were detected. Subsequently, the microbiota of each group was modulated by the administration of either a probiotic, fecal microbiota transplantation, or antibiotics. Changes were observed in host anxiety levels in correlation to the shift of the gut microbiota. Our results suggest that the microbiota, host genetics, and psychological symptoms are strongly related, yet the deeper mechanistic links need further exploration.
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