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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Sep 2023 - 22 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain, Inflammation/Inflammatory, Neuropathic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Dec

Gut Microbes




Disruption of the microbiota-gut-brain axis is a defining characteristic of the α-Gal A (-/0) mouse model of Fabry disease.


Delprete C, Rimondini Giorgini R, Lucarini E, Bastiaanssen TFS, Scicchitano D, Interino N, Formaggio F, Uhlig F, Ghelardini C, Hyland NP, Cryan JF, Liguori R, Candela M, Fiori J, Turroni S, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Caprini M


Fabry disease (FD) is an X-linked metabolic disease caused by a deficiency in α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) activity. This causes accumulation of glycosphingolipids, especially globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), in different cells and organs. Neuropathic pain and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and early satiety, are the most frequent symptoms reported by FD patients and severely affect their quality of life. It is generally accepted that Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 are involved in the symptoms; nevertheless, the origin of these symptoms is complex and multifactorial, and the exact mechanisms of pathogenesis are still poorly understood. Here, we used a murine model of FD, the male α-Gal A (-/0) mouse, to characterize functionality, behavior, and microbiota in an attempt to elucidate the microbiota-gut-brain axis at three different ages. We provided evidence of a diarrhea-like phenotype and visceral hypersensitivity in our FD model together with reduced locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior. We also showed for the first time that symptomology was associated with early compositional and functional dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, paralleled by alterations in fecal short-chain fatty acid levels, which partly persisted with advancing age. Interestingly, most of the dysbiotic features suggested a disruption of gut homeostasis, possibly contributing to accelerated intestinal transit, visceral hypersensitivity, and impaired communication along the gut-brain axis.