Colon impairments and inflammation driven by an altered gut microbiota leads to social behavior deficits rescued by hyaluronic acid and celecoxib

Oryan Agranyoni, Debpali Sur, Sivan Amidror, Nuphar Shidlovsky, Anastasia Bagaev, Nissan Yissachar, Albert Pinhasov, Shiri Navon-Venezia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The exact mechanisms linking the gut microbiota and social behavior are still under investigation. We aimed to explore the role of the gut microbiota in shaping social behavior deficits using selectively bred mice possessing dominant (Dom) or submissive (Sub) behavior features. Sub mice exhibit asocial, depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors, as well as systemic inflammation, all of which are shaped by their impaired gut microbiota composition. Methods: An age-dependent comparative analysis of the gut microbiota composition of Dom and Sub mice was performed using 16S rRNA sequencing, from early infancy to adulthood. Dom and Sub gastrointestinal (GI) tract anatomy, function, and immune profiling analyses were performed using histology, RT-PCR, flow cytometry, cytokine array, and dextran-FITC permeability assays. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) levels in the colons of Dom and Sub mice were quantified using targeted metabolomics. To support our findings, adult Sub mice were orally treated with hyaluronic acid (HA) (30 mg/kg) or with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent celecoxib (16 mg/kg). Results: We demonstrate that from early infancy the Sub mouse gut microbiota lacks essential bacteria for immune maturation, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Furthermore, from birth, Sub mice possess a thicker colon mucin layer, and from early adulthood, they exhibit shorter colonic length, altered colon integrity with increased gut permeability, reduced SCFA levels and decreased regulatory T-cells, compared to Dom mice. Therapeutic intervention in adult Sub mice treated with HA, celecoxib, or both agents, rescued Sub mice phenotypes. HA treatment reduced Sub mouse gut permeability, increased colon length, and improved mouse social behavior deficits. Treatment with celecoxib increased sociability, reduced depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors, and increased colon length, and a combined treatment resulted in similar effects as celecoxib administered as a single agent. Conclusions: Overall, our data suggest that treating colon inflammation and decreasing gut permeability can restore gut physiology and prevent social deficits later in life. These findings provide critical insights into the importance of early life gut microbiota in shaping gut immunity, functionality, and social behavior, and may be beneficial for the development of future therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number182
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Celecoxib
  • Colon inflammation
  • Colon mucin
  • Depressive-like behavior
  • Gut microbiota
  • Gut permeability
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • SCFAs
  • Social behavior
  • Tregs


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