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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Jan 2024 - 12 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 04

Neurobiol Dis


Inferior social hierarchy is vulnerable to anxiety-like behavior in chronic pain mice: Potential role of gut microbiota and metabolites.


Wang Y, Zhang X, Yao Y, Hu S, Wang W, Wang D, Huang C, Liu H, Zhang Q, He T, Wang S, Wu Z, Jiang R, Yang C


Social dominance is a universal phenomenon among grouped animals that profoundly affects survival, health, and reproductive success by determining access to resources, and exerting a powerful influence on subsequent behavior. However, the understanding of pain and anxiety comorbidities in dominant or subordinate animals suffering from chronic pain is not well-defined. Here, we provide evidence that subordinate mice are more susceptible to pain-induced anxiety compared to dominant mice. We propose that the gut microbiota may play a mediating role in this mechanism. Our findings demonstrate that transplantation of fecal microbiota from subordinate mice with chronic inflammatory pain, but not dominant mice, into antibiotics-treated pseudo-germ-free mice significantly amplifies anxiety-like phenotypes, highlighting the critical involvement of gut microbiota in this behavioral response. Using chronic inflammatory pain model, we carried out 16S rRNA sequencing and untargeted metabolomic analyses to explore the relationship between microbiota and metabolites in a stable social hierarchy of mice. Interestingly, anxiety-like behaviors were directly associated with some microbial genera and metabolites, especially bile acid metabolism. Overall, we have demonstrated a close relationship between social status and anxiety susceptibility, highlighting the contributions of gut microbiota and the associated metabolites in the high-anxiety state of subordinate mice with chronic inflammatory pain.