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Maternal obesity disturbs brain-gut-microbiota interactions and induces negative affect in the offspring, but its impact on gut and brain metabolism in the offspring (F1) are unknown. Here, we tested whether perinatal intake of a multispecies probiotic could mitigate the abnormal emotional behavior in the juvenile and adult offspring of obese dams. Untargeted NMR-based metabolomic profiling and gene-expression analysis throughout the gut-brain axis were then used to investigate the biology underpinning behavioral changes in the dams and their offspring. Prolonged high-fat diet feeding reduced maternal gut short-chain fatty acid abundance, increased markers of peripheral inflammation, and decreased the abundance of neuroactive metabolites in maternal milk during nursing. Both juvenile (postnatal day [PND] 21) and adult (PND112) offspring of obese dams exhibited increased anxiety-like behavior, which were prevented by perinatal probiotic exposure. Maternal probiotic treatment increased gut butyrate and brain lactate in the juvenile and adult offspring and increased the expression of prefrontal cortex PFKFB3, a marker of glycolytic metabolism in astrocytes. PFKFB3 expression correlated with the increase in gut butyrate in the juvenile and adult offspring. Maternal obesity reduced synaptophysin expression in the adult offspring, while perinatal probiotic exposure increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Finally, we showed that the resilience of juvenile and adult offspring to anxiety-like behavior was most prominently associated with increased brain lactate abundance, independent of maternal group. Taken together, we show that maternal probiotic supplementation exerts a long-lasting effect on offspring neuroplasticity and the offspring gut-liver-brain metabolome, increasing resilience to emotional dysfunction induced by maternal obesity.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





SCFA, anxiety, lactate, maternal obesity, metabolomics