Previous studies suggested that altered gut serotonin (5-HT) signaling is implicated in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Indeed, 5-HT administration reportedly exacerbated the severity of murine dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis that mimics human IBD. Our recent study suggested that Bifidobacterium pseudolongum, one of the most predominant bifidobacterial species in various mammals, reduces the colonic 5-HT content in mice. The present study thus tested whether the administration of B. pseudolongum prevents DSS-induced colitis in mice. Colitis was induced by administering 3% DSS in drinking water in female BALB/c mice, and B. pseudolongum (109 CFU/day) or 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA, 200 mg/kg body weight) was intragastrically administered once daily throughout the experimental period. B. pseudolongum administration reduced body weight loss, diarrhea, fecal bleeding, colon shortening, spleen enlargement, and colon tissue damage and increased colonic mRNA levels of cytokine genes (Il1b, Il6, Il10, and Tnf) almost to an extent similar to 5-ASA administration in DSS-treated mice. B. pseudolongum administration also reduced the increase of colonic 5-HT content, whereas it did not alter the colonic mRNA levels of genes that encode the 5-HT synthesizing enzyme, 5-HT reuptake transporter, 5-HT metabolizing enzyme, and tight junction-associated proteins. We propose that B. pseudolongum is as beneficial against murine DSS-induced colitis as the widely used anti-inflammatory agent 5-ASA. However, further studies are needed to clarify the causal relationship between the reduced colonic 5-HT content and reduced severity of DSS-induced colitis caused by B. pseudolongum administration.
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