Diet Prevents Social Stress-Induced Maladaptive Neurobehavioural and Gut Microbiota Changes in a Histamine-Dependent Manner

Alessia Costa, Barbara Rani, Thomaz F. S. Bastiaanssen, Francesco Bonfiglio, Eoin Gunnigle, Gustavo Provensi, Moira Rossitto, Marcus Böhme, Conall Strain, Clara S. Martínez, Patrizio Blandina, John F. Cryan, Sophie Layé, Renato Corradetti, Maria Beatrice Passani
IJMS. 2022-01-13; 23(2): 862
DOI: 10.3390/ijms23020862

Exposure to repeated social stress may cause maladaptive emotional reactions that can be reduced by healthy nutritional supplementation. Histaminergic neurotransmission has a central role in orchestrating specific behavioural responses depending on the homeostatic state of a subject, but it remains to be established if it participates in the protective effects against the insults of chronic stress afforded by a healthy diet. By using C57BL/6J male mice that do not synthesize histamine (Hdc−/−) and their wild type (Hdc+/+) congeners we evaluated if the histaminergic system participates in the protective action of a diet enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin A on the deleterious effect of chronic stress. Behavioural tests across domains relevant to cognition and anxiety were performed. Hippocampal synaptic plasticity, cytokine expression, hippocampal fatty acids, oxylipins and microbiota composition were also assessed. Chronic stress induced social avoidance, poor recognition memory, affected hippocampal long-term potentiation, changed the microbiota profile, brain cytokines, fatty acid and oxylipins composition of both Hdc−/−and Hdc+/+ mice. Dietary enrichment counteracted stress-induced deficits only in Hdc+/+ mice as histamine deficiency prevented almost all of the diet-related beneficial effects. Interpretation: Our results reveal a previously unexplored and novel role for brain histamine as a mediator of many favorable effects of the enriched diet. These data present long-reaching perspectives in the field of nutritional neuropsychopharmacology.

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