Hyperammonemia induces gut microbiota dysbiosis and motor coordination disturbances in mice: new insight into gut‑brain axis involvement in hepatic encephalopathy


hepatic encephalopathy
gut dysbiosis
gut‑liver brain axis
motor coordination


Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a neuropsychiatric hepatic‑induced syndrome in which several factors are involved in promoting brain perturbations, with ammonia being the primary factor. Motor impairment, incoordination, and gut dysbiosis are some of the  well‑known symptoms of HE. Nevertheless, the link between the direct effect of hyperammonemia and associated gut dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of HE is not well established. Thus, this work aimed to assess motor function in hyperammonemia and gut dysbiosis in mice. Twenty‑eight Swiss mice were distributed into three groups: two‑week and four‑week hyperammonemia groups were fed with an ammonia‑rich diet (20% w/w), and the control group was pair‑fed with a standard diet. Motor performance in the three groups was measured through a battery of motor tests, namely the rotarod, parallel bars, beam walk, and static bars. Microbial analysis was then carried out on the intestine of the studied mice. The result showed motor impairments in both hyperammonemia groups. Qualitative and quantitative microbiological analysis revealed decreased bacterial load, diversity, and ratios of both aerobic and facultative anaerobic bacteria, following two and four weeks of ammonia supplementation. Moreover, the Shannon diversity index revealed a time‑dependent cutback of gut bacterial diversity in a treatment‑time‑dependent manner, with the presence of only Enterobacteriaceae, Streptococcaceae, and Enterococcaceaeat at four weeks. The data showed that ammonia‑induced motor coordination deficits may develop through direct and indirect pathways acting on the gut‑brain axis.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Naima Fdil, Omar El Hiba


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