Microbiota and stress: a loop that impacts memory.

TitleMicrobiota and stress: a loop that impacts memory.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsKraimi, N, Lormant, F, Calandreau, L, Kempf, F, Zemb, O, Lemarchand, J, Constantin, P, Parias, C, Germain, K, Rabot, S, Philippe, C, Foury, A, Moisan, M-P, Carvalho, AVitorino, Coustham, V, Dardente, H, Velge, P, Chaumeil, T, Leterrier, C
Date Published2021 Nov 20

Chronic stress and the gut microbiota appear to comprise a feed-forward loop, which contributes to the development of depressive disorders. Evidence suggests that memory can also be impaired by either chronic stress or microbiota imbalance. However, it remains to be established whether these could be a part of an integrated loop model and be responsible for memory impairments. To shed light on this, we used a two-pronged approach in Japanese quail: first stress-induced alterations in gut microbiota were characterized, then we tested whether this altered microbiota could affect brain and memory function when transferred to a germ-free host. The cecal microbiota of chronically stressed quails was found to be significantly different from that of unstressed individuals with lower α and β diversities and increased Bacteroidetes abundance largely represented by the Alistipes genus, a well-known stress target in rodents and humans. The transfer of this altered microbiota into germ-free quails decreased their spatial and cue-based memory abilities as previously demonstrated in the stressed donors. The recipients also displayed increased anxiety-like behavior, reduced basal plasma corticosterone levels and differential gene expression in the brain. Furthermore, cecal microbiota transfer from a chronically stressed individual was sufficient to mimic the adverse impact of chronic stress on memory in recipient hosts and this action may be related to the Alistipes genus. Our results provide evidence of a feed-forward loop system linking the microbiota-gut-brain axis to stress and memory function and suggest that maintaining a healthy microbiota could help alleviate memory impairments linked to chronic stress.

Alternate JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
PubMed ID34875421