Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Oct 23. doi: 10.1007/s12035-023-03697-x. Online ahead of print.
Gut microbiota serves in the development and maintenance of phenotype. However, the underlying mechanisms are still in its infancy. The current study shows epigenetic remodelling in the brain as a causal mechanism in the gut microbiota-brain axis. Like in trauma patients, gut dysbiosis and anxiety were comorbid in adult male Wistar rats subjected to repeated mild traumatic brain injuries (rMTBI). rMTBI caused epigenetic dysregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) expression in the amygdala, owing to the formation of transcriptional co-repressor complex due to dynamic interaction between histone deacetylase and DNA methylation modification at the Bdnf gene promoter. The probiosis after faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy naïve rats or by administration of single strain probiotic (SSP), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), recuperated rMTBI-induced anxiety. Concurrently, LGG infusion or naïve FMT also dislodged rMTBI-induced co-repressor complex resulting in the normalization of Bdnf expression and neuronal plasticity as measured by Golgi-Cox staining. Furthermore, sodium butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, produced neurobehavioural effects similar to naïve FMT or LGG administration. Interestingly, the gut microbiota from rMTBI-exposed rats per se was able to provoke anxiety in naïve rats in parallel with BDNF deficits. Therefore, gut microbiota seems to be causally linked with the chromatin remodelling necessary for neuroadaptations via neuronal plasticity which drives experience-dependent behavioural manifestations.