Recent evidence has linked the gut microbiome to host behavior via the gut–brain axis [1,2,3]; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. Here, we determined the links between host genetics, the gut microbiome and memory using the genetically defined Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse cohort, complemented with microbiome and metabolomic analyses in conventional and germ-free (GF) mice.
A genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) identified 715 of 76,080 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated with short-term memory using the passive avoidance model. The identified SNPs were enriched in genes known to be involved in learning and memory functions. By 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the gut microbial community in the same CC cohort, we identified specific microorganisms that were significantly correlated with longer latencies in our retention test, including a positive correlation with Lactobacillus.
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