2022 journal article
Clostridioides difficile Infection Dysregulates Brain Dopamine Metabolism
Microbiology Spectrum, 10(2).
Gastrointestinal illnesses and dysbiosis are among the most common comorbidities reported in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. The manuscript reports that C. difficile infection (CDI), predisposed by antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis, causes significant alterations in dopamine metabolism in major dopaminergic brain regions in mice (P < 0.05). In addition, C. difficile infected mice exhibited significantly reduced dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) activity compared to controls (P < 0.01). Moreover, a significantly increased serum concentration of p-cresol, a DBH inhibiting gut metabolite produced by C. difficile, was also observed in C. difficile infected mice (P < 0.05). Therefore, this study suggests a potential mechanistic link between CDI and alterations in the brain dopaminergic axis. Such alterations may plausibly influence the precipitation and aggravation of dopamine dysmetabolism-associated neurologic diseases in infected patients. IMPORTANCE The gut-brain axis is thought to play a significant role in the development and manifestation of neurologic diseases. This study reports significant alterations in the brain dopamine metabolism in mice infected with C. difficile, an important pathogen that overgrows in the gut after prolonged antibiotic therapy. Such alterations in specific brain regions may have an effect on the precipitation or manifestation of neurodevelopmental disorders in humans.