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A diet enriched with Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus HN001 and milk fat globule membrane alters the gut microbiota and decreases amygdala GABA a receptor expression in stress-sensitive rats

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-22, 04:15 authored by Julie DalzielJulie Dalziel, Gosia Zobel, Hilary DewhurstHilary Dewhurst, Charley HurstCharley Hurst, Trent OlsonTrent Olson, Raquel Rodriguez Sanchez, Louise Mace, Nabil Parkar, Carol ThumCarol Thum, Rina HannafordRina Hannaford, Karl FraserKarl Fraser, Alastair K. H. MacGibbon, Shalome A. Bassett, James Dekker, Rachel AndersonRachel Anderson, Wayne Young

Brain signalling pathways involved in subclinical anxiety and depressed mood can be modulated via the gut brain axis (GBA), providing the potential for diet and dietary components to affect mood. We investigated behavioural, physiological and gut microbiome responses to the Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus strain HN001 (LactoB HN001™), which has been shown to reduce postpartum anxiety and depression, and a milk fat globule membrane-enriched product, Lipid 70 (SurestartTM MFGM Lipid 70), which has been implicated in memory in stress-susceptible Wistar Kyoto rats. We examined behaviour in the open field, elevated plus maze and novel object recognition tests in conjunction with the expression of host genes in neuro-signalling pathways, and we also assessed brain lipidomics. Treatment-induced alterations in the caecal microbiome and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profiles were also assessed. Neither ingredient induced behavioural changes or altered the brain lipidome (separately or when combined). However, with regard to brain gene expression, the L. rhamnosus HN001 + Lipid 70 combination produced a synergistic effect, reducing GABAA subunit expression in the amygdala (Gabre, Gat3, Gabrg1) and hippocampus (Gabrd). Treatment with L. rhamnosus HN001 alone altered expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor (Grm4) in the amygdala but produced only minor changes in gut microbiota composition. In contrast, Lipid 70 alone did not alter brain gene expression but produced a significant shift in the gut microbiota profile. Under the conditions used, there was no observed effect on rat behaviour for the ingredient combination. However, the enhancement of brain gene expression by L. rhamnosus HN001 + Lipid 70 implicates synergistic actions on region-specific neural pathways associated with fear, anxiety, depression and memory. A significant shift in the gut microbiota profile also occurred that was mainly attributable to Lipid 70. 


Fonterra Ltd.

Endeavour Research Programme “Smarter Lives: New opportunities for dairy products across the lifespan” (C10X1706)


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© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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  • 11600


  • English

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  • No



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International Journal of Molecular Sciences



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