- BACKGROUND: Gnotobiotic mice colonized with microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and comorbid anxiety (IBS+A) display gut dysfunction and anxiety-like behavior compared to mice colonized with microbiota from healthy volunteers. Using this model, we tested the therapeutic potential of the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii strain CNCM I-745 (S. bou) and investigated underlying mechanisms. METHODS: Germ-free Swiss Webster mice were colonized with fecal microbiota from an IBS+A patient or a healthy control (HC). Three weeks later, mice were gavaged daily with S. boulardii or placebo for two weeks. Anxiety-like behavior (light preference and step-down tests), gastrointestinal transit, and permeability were assessed. After sacrifice, samples were taken for gene expression by NanoString and qRT-PCR, microbiota 16S rRNA profiling, and indole quantification. KEY RESULTS: Mice colonized with IBS+A microbiota developed faster gastrointestinal transit and anxiety-like behavior (longer step-down latency) compared to mice with HC microbiota. S. bou administration normalized gastrointestinal transit and anxiety-like behavior in mice with IBS+A microbiota. Step-down latency correlated with colonic Trpv1 expression and was associated with altered microbiota profile and increased Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) levels. CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: Treatment with S. bou improves gastrointestinal motility and anxiety-like behavior in mice with IBS+A microbiota. Putative mechanisms include effects on pain pathways, direct modulation of the microbiota, and indole production by commensal bacteria.