Effects of semi-purified diet on depressive behaviors in aged mice

Eiki Takahashi, Etsuro Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Diet is a key modifiable factor influencing the composition of gut microbiota. There are two types of commercially available diets for experimental animals: non-purified and semi-purified diets. Non-purified diets are composed of complex ingredients from multiple sources, while semi-purified diets are formulated with refined ingredients. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated a link between the gut microbiota and depression, and feed ingredients may influence depressive physiology and behaviors. To test this hypothesis, we examined how chronic non-purified (CRF-1) and semi-purified (AIN-93G) diets affected phenotypes, including depressive behaviors, plasma corticosterone levels, and small-intestine microbiota in young (2 months old) and aged (22 months old) inbred C57BL/JJcl mice. In young mice, similar phenotypes were associated with non-purified and semi-purified diets. However, in aged mice, semi-purified diets increased depressive behaviors in the tail suspension (P < 0.05) and forced swimming tests (P < 0.01). The corticosterone levels were similar between the two diets under normal rearing conditions. However, immediately after exposure to the stressful conditions of the forced swimming test, the corticosterone levels in the aged mice fed the semi-purified diet were higher than those of mice fed the non-purified diet (P < 0.05). There were fewer Lactobacillales in the small intestines of aged mice fed the semi-purified diet compared to those fed the non-purified diet (P < 0.01). Further, α-diversity was lower in aged mice fed the semi-purified versus non-purified diet (P < 0.01). Our results indicate that host physiology and gut microbiota differed according to whether the aged mice were fed a non-purified or semi-purified diet. Specifically, those fed the semi-purified diet were more vulnerable to stress than age-matched mice fed the non-purified diet. Our findings indicate that researchers should consider the effects of feed ingredients on depressive physiology and behaviors, and select diets that are appropriate for their particular research design. Further, identification of the ingredients in non-purified diets could facilitate examination of the mechanisms by which gut microbiota composition might increase resistance to stress and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101152
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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