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The influence of the gut microbiota on brain chemistry has been convincingly demonstrated in rodents. In the absence of gut bacteria, the central expression of brain derived neurotropic factor, (BDNF), and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) subunits are reduced, whereas, oral probiotics increase brain BDNF, and impart significant anxiolytic effects. We tested whether prebiotic compounds, which increase intrinsic enteric microbiota, also affected brain BDNF and NMDARs. In addition, we examined whether plasma from prebiotic treated rats released BDNF from human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, to provide an initial indication of mechanism of action. Rats were gavaged with fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) or water for five weeks, prior to measurements of brain BDNF, NMDAR subunits and amino acids associated with glutamate neurotransmission (glutamate, glutamine, and serine and alanine enantiomers). Prebiotics increased hippocampal BDNF and NR1 subunit expression relative to controls. The intake of GOS also increased hippocampal NR2A subunits, and frontal cortex NR1 and d-serine. Prebiotics did not alter glutamate, glutamine, l-serine, l-alanine or d-alanine concentrations in the brain, though GOSfeeding raised plasma d-alanine. Elevated levels of plasma peptide YY (PYY) after GOS intake was observed. Plasma from GOS rats increased the release of BDNF from SH-SY5Y cells, but not in the presence of PYY antisera. The addition of synthetic PYY to SH-SY5Y cell cultures, also elevated BDNF secretion. We conclude that prebiotic-mediated proliferation of gut microbiota in rats, like probiotics, increases brain BDNF expression, possibly through the involvement of gut hormones. The effect of GOS on components of central NMDAR signalling was greater than FOS, and may reflect the proliferative potency of GOS on microbiota. Our data therefore, provide a sound basis to further investigate the utility of prebiotics in the maintenance of brain health and adjunctive treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neuint.2013.10.006

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neurochem Int

Publication Date

12/2013

Volume

63

Pages

756 - 764

Keywords

Amino acids, Bifidobacteria, Dentate gyrus, Glutamate, HPLC, Western blot, Amino Acids, Animals, Bifidobacterium, Body Weight, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Cell Line, Tumor, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Feces, Frontal Lobe, Hippocampus, Humans, Male, Prebiotics, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Serine