Objective: The intestinal microbiota is acknowledged to be essential in brain development and behaviour. Their composition can be modulated by prebiotics such as short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides (scGOS) and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharide (lcFOS). Several studies reported potential health benefit of prebiotics on behaviour. As the prebiotic mixture of scGOS and lcFOS is included in infant formula, we investigated the effects of dietary supplementation with this specific mixture from the day of birth onwards on behaviour and intestinal microbiota development in mice.
Method: Healthy male BALB/cByJ mice received, from day of birth, a dietary supplement with or without 3% scGOS:lcFOS (9:1). Behavioural tests were performed pre-weaning, in adolescence, early adulthood and adulthood. We assessed faecal microbiota compositions over time, caecal short-chain fatty acids as well as brain mRNA expression of Htr1a, Htr1b and Tph2 and monoamine levels.
Results: Compared to control fed mice, scGOS:lcFOS fed mice showed reduced anxiety-like and repetitive behaviour over time and improved social behaviour in adulthood. The serotonergic system in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and somatosensory cortex (SSC) was affected by the scGOS:lcFOS. In the PFC, mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) was enhanced in scGOS:lcFOS fed mice. Although the bacterial diversity of the intestinal microbiota was unaffected by the scGOS:lcFOS diet, microbiota composition differed between the scGOS:lcFOS and the control fed mice over time. Moreover, an increased saccharolytic and decreased proteolytic fermentation activity were observed in caecum content.
Read more at: Taylor & Francis Online