Background & Aims: The human gut microbiota can regulate production of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) from enterochromaffin cells. However, the mechanisms underlying microbial-induced serotonin signaling are not well understood. Methods: Adult germ-free mice were treated with sterile media, live Bifidobacterium dentium, heat-killed B dentium, or live Bacteroides ovatus. Mouse and human enteroids were used to assess the effects of B dentium metabolites on 5-HT release from enterochromaffin cells. In vitro and in vivo short-chain fatty acids and 5-HT levels were assessed by mass spectrometry. Expression of tryptophan hydroxylase, short-chain fatty acid receptor free fatty acid receptor 2, 5-HT receptors, and the 5-HT re-uptake transporter (serotonin transporter) were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunostaining. RNA in situ hybridization assessed 5-HT–receptor expression in the brain, and 5-HT–receptor–dependent behavior was evaluated using the marble burying test. Results: B dentium mono-associated mice showed increased fecal acetate. This finding corresponded with increased intestinal 5-HT concentrations and increased expression of 5-HT receptors 2a, 4, and serotonin transporter. These effects were absent in B ovatus-treated mice. Application of acetate and B dentium–secreted products stimulated 5-HT release in mouse and human enteroids. In situ hybridization of brain tissue also showed significantly increased hippocampal expression of 5-HT–receptor 2a in B dentium–treated mice relative to germ-free controls. Functionally, B dentium colonization normalized species-typical repetitive and anxiety-like behaviors previously shown to be linked to 5-HT–receptor 2a. Conclusions: These data suggest that B dentium, and the bacterial metabolite acetate, are capable of regulating key components of the serotonergic system in multiple host tissues, and are associated with a functional change in adult behavior.
- Enterochromaffin Cells
- Free Fatty Acid Receptor (FFAR)2
- Serotonin Transporter
- Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)
ASJC Scopus subject areas