Food and Behaviour Research

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Aggression: A gut reaction? The effects of the gut microbiome on aggression

Uzan-Yulzari A, Turjeman S, Getselter D, Rautava S, Isolauri E, Khatib S, Elliott E, Koren O (2023) bioRxiv preprint   doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.10.26.564110; this version posted October 30, 2023. 

Web URL: Access this pre-print in full via BioRxiv here

Abstract:

Recent research has unveiled conflicting evidence regarding the link between aggression and the gut microbiome.

In our investigation, we meticulously examined the behavioral patterns of four groups of mice – wild-type, germ-free (GF), mice treated with antibiotics, and recolonized GF mice – to gain mechanistic insights into the impact of the gut microbiome on aggression.

We discovered a significant correlation between diminished microbiome and increased aggression. Importantly, this behavioral shift could be restored when a WT microbiota was reinstated. Microbiota manipulation also significantly altered brain function, particularly in aggression-associated genes, and urine metabolite profiles.

Notably, our study extends beyond the murine model, shedding light on clinical implications of early-life antibiotic exposure.

We found that fecal microbiome transplants from 1mo old infants prescribed antibiotics during their first days of life led to a marked increase in aggression in recipient mice.

This research demonstrates that the microbiota modulates aggression and underscores its importance in the realm of behavioral science.

One-Sentence Summary:

The antibiotic-altered gut microbiome is implicated in increased aggression. It also leads to altered brain function, particularly in genes linked to aggression, and urine metabolite profiles showing a multi-system response to microbiota disruption.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

For an accessible account of this study's findings and related research, please see the news article: