Psychoactive bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus (JB-1) elicits rapid frequency facilitation in vagal afferents
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Mounting evidence supports the influence of the gut microbiome on the local enteric nervous system and its effects on brain chemistry and relevant behavior. Vagal afferents are involved in some of these effects. We previously showed that ingestion of the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus (JB-1) caused extensive neurochemical changes in the brain and behavior that were abrogated by prior vagotomy. Because information can be transmitted to the brain via primary afferents encoded as neuronal spike trains, our goal was to record those induced by JB-1 in vagal afferents in the mesenteric nerve bundle and thus determine the nature of the signals sent to the brain. Male Swiss Webster mice jejunal segments were cannulated ex vivo, and serosal and luminal compartments were perfused separately. Bacteria were added intraluminally. We found no evidence for translocation of labeled bacteria across the epithelium during the experiment. We recorded extracellular multi- and single-unit neuronal activity with glass suction pipettes. Within minutes of application, JB-1 increased the constitutive single- and multiunit firing rate of the mesenteric nerve bundle, but Lactobacillus salivarius (a negative control) or media alone were ineffective. JB-1 significantly augmented multiunit discharge responses to an intraluminal distension pressure of 31 hPa. Prior subdiaphragmatic vagotomy abolished all of the JB-1-evoked effects. This detailed exploration of the neuronal spike firing that encodes behavioral signaling to the brain may be useful to identify effective psychoactive bacteria and thereby offer an alternative new perspective in the field of psychiatry and comorbid conditions.
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