Gut bacteria & their metabolites indicative of depression

This study recruited 311 participants in China, with diagnosed Major depressive Disorder (MDD) making up 156 and control subjects totalling 155 of the total group. Metagenomic analyses of faecal samples was carried out on all subjects, comparing metabolite profiles and bacterial identification. Results found that the bacterial composition of MDD was different from that of controls, specifically, metagenomic analysis identified 47 bacterial species linked with MDD. Moreover, levels of faecal GABA and its relevant metabolites were consistently decreased in MDD relative to controls, suggesting a decrease in GABA content in the intestine. In addition, a microbial enzyme–related gene (BetB) that participated in arginine metabolism to GABA was down-regulated in MDD. They conclude that the decrease in gut GABA level may be correlated with the dysregulation of GABAergic function in the brain. New diagnostic strategies for MDD may well be developed through these findings.

Jian Yang et al. Landscapes of bacterial and metabolic signatures and their interaction in major depressive disorders. Science Advances 02 Dec 2020: Vol. 6, no. 49, eaba8555 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba8555

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