Sulfate-reducing bacteria impairs working memory in mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ability of gut microbes to bi-directionally communicate with the brain and vice versa form the basis of the gut microbiome-central nervous system axis. It has been shown that inoculation with pathogenic gut bacteria alters the behavior of mice; however, it is not known whether or not non-pathogenic resident microbes have similar effects. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the administration of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), a specific group of resident gut bacteria that generate hydrogen sulfide (H2S), impair learning and memory performance in mice tested in an 8-arm radial maze and Morris water maze. We found that mice spent more time in the center of the maze when they were gavaged with live SRB as compared to mice given saline (control), lactulose+mannitol (L/M), or killed SRB. SRB-gavaged mice were also tested using the Morris water maze and were found to take longer to complete the test, spend more time further from the platform, and have a longer path length to reach the platform. This effect of SRB on maze performance was associated with a higher concentration of H2S in the small intestine and cecum. We conclude that SRB, a specific resident gut bacterial species could impair cognitive function in mice.Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.

publication date

  • February 2016