Psychosocial Stress, Immunity and Gut Microbiome Interplay

19 April 2023by Barış Özdinç


Did you know that there is evidence to suggest that psychosocial stress induced gut microbiome shifts have an impact on immune cell development?

The interplay between the gut microbiome and the central nervous system has attracted researchers as a potential target for treating stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety. 


A new study published in the Nature Immunology Journal sheds light on how the gut microbiome and immune system impact stress responses and provides insights into new therapeutic strategies for treating psychosocial stress-related health decline.


Read on to learn more about the study, its results, and how the CosmosID-HUB enabled this research.


The study utilized a mouse model to investigate the effects of chronic social stress on the gut microbiome and immune system. 


The researchers exposed mice to chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) for 10 days, a well-established model of stress-induced mood disorders in rodents. In short, an alone caged mouse was exposed to an aggressor mouse for 10 minutes over 10 days. 


The researchers then analyzed the composition of the gut microbiome and the immune response in the colon of the mice using metagenomic sequencing, flow cytometry, and cytokine profiling.


To perform fecal microbiome analysis, fresh stool pellets were collected and subjected to DNA extraction. Extracted DNA was then used to create libraries, and the libraries were then sequenced using an Illumina platform. 


The unassembled sequencing reads were directly analyzed on the CosmosID bioinformatics platform (CosmosID Inc., Germantown, MD) for multi-kingdom taxonomic, antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor analysis. 


The study showed that exposure to CSDS led to changes in the gut microbiome composition, with a significant decrease in the abundance of Lactobacillus and an increase in the abundance of Parabacteroides. 


The researchers also found that CSDS induced the expansion of colonic γδ T cells, a subset of immune cells that play a role in tissue repair and inflammation. In fact, Lactobacillus is involved in the T-cell differentiation.


To investigate the role of the Dectin-1 receptor in stress-induced inflammation, the researchers treated mice with a Dectin-1 antagonist or selectively depleted colonic γδ T cells.


They found that blocking Dectin-1 or depleting colonic γδ T cells significantly reduced stress-induced production of inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that Dectin-1 signaling on colonic γδ T cells promotes stress responses and CSDS behaviour may be reversed through intervention.


Overall, this study demonstrates the value of using predictive analytics to identify biomarkers and develop new treatments for stress-related disorders. The results also provide an important step forward in understanding the complex interplay between the gut microbiome, immune system, and stress responses. 


By identifying new therapeutic targets, this study opens up new avenues for treating stress-related disorders and improving mental health outcomes for millions of people worldwide. 


While these findings are promising, there are still several questions that need to be addressed. 


For example, it is unclear whether these findings apply to other stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or whether targeting the gut microbiome and immune system is effective in treating these conditions.


In addition, more research is needed to understand the complex interplay between the gut microbiome, immune system, and stress responses. Despite these limitations, the study provides important insights into the gut-brain axis and the role of the immune system in stress-related disorders. 


To learn more please check the original article

How did CosmosID support this research?

The CosmosID-HUB platform enabled the researchers to quickly and accurately analyze the microbiome data from their samples. 


With CosmosID, they were able to identify microbial taxonomies down to the species level, as well as detect antimicrobial resistance genes and virulence factors. This information allowed them to gain insights into how changes in the gut microbiome can contribute to an altered immune response and stress response. 


By leveraging the advanced machine learning algorithms used in CosmosID’s microbiome sequencing srvices, they were also able to identify biomarkers that can help diagnose and treat stress-related disorders. These biomarkers may provide valuable information for clinical decision-making and assist in the development of novel therapies.


If you’d like to learn more about how CosmosID can be used to support research and clinical applications, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Unlock the power of the microbiome. Get started with the CosmosID-HUB now.


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Barış Özdinç

Barış Özdinç analyzes microbiome research with his educational background in genetics and evolution. As a research analyst for CosmosID, he combines metagenomics and data analyses to identify microbial biomarkers in disease cohorts and evaluate microbiome research tools. His work involves curating microbiome data and creating interesting microbiome content for newsletters and blog posts. Barış Özdinç received his bachelor’s degree in genetics and master’s degree in biodiversity, evolution, and conservation from University College London (UCL). Currently, he lives in Istanbul, Turkey, where he lives with his cat, Delight, and mentors female students in their STEM career pursuits.