Effect of gut microbiota early in life on aggressive behavior in mice

Natsuru Watanabe, Katsunaka Mikami, Tomokazu Hata, Keitaro Kimoto, Ryo Nishino, Fumiaki Akama, Kenji Yamamoto, Nobuyuki Sudo, Yasuhiro Koga, Hideo Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Recent reports have indicated that gut microbiota modulates the responses to stress through the microbiota-gut-brain axis in mice, suggesting a connection between gut microbiota and brain function. We hypothesized that the gut microbiota early in life would have an effect on aggressiveness, and examined how gut microbiota affect aggressive behaviors in mice. BALB/c mice were housed in germ-free (GF) and ex-germ-free (Ex-GF) isolators. An aggression test was performed between castrated and a non-castrated mice at 8 weeks of age; the mice were allowed to confront each other for 10 min in strictly contamination-free environments. To evaluate aggressive behavior related to gut microbiota, we orally administered diluted Ex-GF mouse feces to the offspring of GF mice at 0, 6, and 10 weeks. GF mice showed more aggression than Ex-GF mice. Furthermore, GF mice who were administered feces of the Ex-GF group at 0-week-old were less aggressive than the GF mice. These findings suggested that the gut microbiota in the early stages of development was likely to have an effect on aggressiveness. Maintenance of healthy gut microbiota early in life can affect the mitigation of aggressive behavioral characteristics throughout the lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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