Gut microbiota of mice putatively modifies amino acid metabolism in the host brain

Takahiro Kawase, Mao Nagasawa, Hiromi Ikeda, Shinobu Yasuo, Yasuhiro Koga, Mitsuhiro Furuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, it has been found that the gut microbiota influences functions of the host brain by affecting monoamine metabolism. The present study focused on the relationship between the gut microbiota and the brain amino acids. Specific pathogen-free (SPF) and germ-free (GF) mice were used as experimental models. Plasma and brain regions were sampled from mice at 7 and 16 weeks of age, and analysed for free d- and l-amino acids, which are believed to affect many physiological functions. At 7 weeks of age, plasma concentrations of d-aspartic acid (d-Asp), l-alanine (l-Ala), l-glutamine (l-Gln) and taurine were higher in SPF mice than in GF mice, but no differences were found at 16 weeks of age. Similar patterns were observed for the concentrations of l-Asp in striatum, cerebral cortex and hippocampus, and l-arginine (l-Arg), l-Ala and l-valine (l-Val) in striatum. In addition, the concentrations of l-Asp, d-Ala, l-histidine, l-isoleucine (l-Ile), l-leucine (l-Leu), l-phenylalanine and l-Val were significantly higher in plasma of SPF mice when compared with those of GF mice. The concentrations of l-Arg, l-Gln, l-Ile and l-Leu were significantly higher in SPF than in GF mice, but those of d-Asp, d-serine and l-serine were higher in some brain regions of GF mice than in those of SPF mice. In conclusion, the concentration of amino acids in the host brain seems to be dependent on presence of the gut microbiota. Amino acid metabolism in the host brain may be modified by manipulating microbiota communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-783
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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