Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum CECT 7765 Ameliorates Neuroendocrine Alterations Associated with an Exaggerated Stress Response and Anhedonia in Obese Mice
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Obesity, besides being a problem of metabolic dysfunction, constitutes a risk factor for psychological disorders. Experimental models of diet-induced obesity have revealed that obese animals are prone to anxious and depressive-like behaviors. The present study aimed to evaluate whether Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum CECT 7765 could reverse the neurobehavioral consequences of obesity in a high-fat diet (HFD) fed mouse model via regulation of the gut–brain axis. Adult male wild-type C57BL-6 mice were fed a standard diet or HFD, supplemented with either placebo or the bifidobacterial strain for 13 weeks. Behavioral tests were performed, and immune and neuroendocrine parameters were analyzed including leptin and corticosterone and their receptors, Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and neurotransmitters. We found that obese mice showed anhedonia (p < 0.050) indicative of a depressive-like behavior and an exaggerated hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA)-mediated stress response to acute physical (p < 0.001) and social stress (p < 0.050), but these alterations were ameliorated by B. pseudocatenulatum CECT 7765 (p < 0.050). These behavioral effects were parallel to reductions of the obesity-associated hyperleptinemia (p < 0.001) and restoration of leptin signaling (p < 0.050), along with fat mass loss (p < 0.010). B. pseudocatenulatum CECT 7765 administration also led to restoration of the obesity-induced reductions in adrenaline in the hypothalamus (p < 0.010), involved in the hypothalamic control of energy balance. Furthermore, the bifidobacterial strain reduced the obesity-induced upregulation of TLR2 protein or gene expression in the intestine (p < 0.010) and the hippocampus (p < 0.050) and restored the alterations of 5-HT levels in the hippocampus (p < 0.050), which could contribute to attenuating the obesity-associated depressive-like behavior (p < 0.050). In summary, the results indicate that B. pseudocatenulatum CECT 7765 could play a role in depressive behavior comorbid with obesity via regulation of endocrine and immune mediators of the gut–brain axis.
KeywordsObesity Bifidobacterium Microbiota Depression Stress Serotonin TLR2
This work and the contract of AA were supported by grant AGL2014-52101-P from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO). The scholarship of AM from MECD and the PTA contract of IC from MINECO are also fully acknowledged. CIBERNED funding AP is also acknowledged.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Experiments were carried out in strict compliance with the recommendations provided in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the University of Valencia (Central Service of Support to Research [SCSIE], University of Valencia, Spain), and the protocol was approved by its Ethics Committee (Approval number 2015/VSC/PEA/00041).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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