Identical mouse models tested using the same protocols in different laboratories can produce inconsistent results. Indeed, little information is available regarding suitable diets for mouse models of disease in the field of neuroscience. Thus, neuroscientists often select experimental diets based on personal judgment. Recent studies have reported a strong interaction between depression and gut microbiota. Furthermore, diets can impact the composition of the microbiota. To confirm whether diet influences the phenotype and gut microbiota of depressive mice, we examined the effects of two widely used commercial diets, non-purified (CRF-1) and semi-purified (AIN-93 G) commercial diets on behavior, plasma levels of corticosterone, and cecum microbiota at 1 and 5 weeks after restraint in repeatedly restrained mice. Exposure to repeated stress induced similar depression-like phenotypes 1 week after stress in CRF-1 and AIN-93 G fed mice. However, mice fed the AIN-93 G diet showed greater vulnerability than the others 5 weeks after restraint. The Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio and α-diversity were lower in the cecum at 5 weeks after stress in mice fed the AIN-93 G diet compared to 1 week after stress in mice fed the AIN-93 G diet. These data suggest that diet type affects stress sensitivity via different gut microbiota and that diet selection is important in neuroscience research and data reproducibility.
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