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Depression frequently occurs in patients with liver cirrhosis, yet the reasons for this correlation are not fully understood. Dysbiosis of gut microbiota has been implicated in depression through the gut-brain axis via the vagus nerve. This study explored the potential role of the gut-liver-brain axis via the vagus nerve in depression-like phenotypes in mice with liver cirrhosis. These mice underwent common bile duct ligation (CBDL), a method used to stimulate liver cirrhosis. To assess depression-like behaviors, behavioral tests were conducted 10 days following either sham or CBDL surgeries. The mice with CBDL displayed symptoms such as splenomegaly, elevated plasma levels of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, depression-like behaviors, decreased levels of synaptic proteins in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), disrupted gut microbiota balance, and changes in blood metabolites (or lipids). Additionally, there were positive or negative correlations between the relative abundance of microbiome and behavioral data or blood metabolites (or lipids). Significantly, these changes were reversed in CBDL mice by performing a subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. Intriguingly, depression-like phenotypes in mice with CBDL were improved after a single injection of arketamine, a new antidepressant. These results suggest that CBDL-induced depression-like phenotypes in mice are mediated through the gut-liver-brain axis via the subdiaphragmatic vagus nerve, and that arketamine might offer a new treatment approach for depression in liver cirrhosis patients. Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Yong Yang, Akifumi Eguchi, Chisato Mori, Kenji Hashimoto. Depression-like phenotypes in mice following common bile duct ligation: Insights into the gut-liver-brain axis via the vagus nerve. Neurobiology of disease. 2024 Mar;192:106433

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PMID: 38331354

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