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Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: A Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

  • 2017-08
  • Gastroenterology 153(2)
    • M. Pinto-Sanchez
    • G. Hall
    • K. Ghajar
    • A. Nardelli
    • C. Bolino
    • Jennifer T. Lau
    • F. Martin
    • O. Cominetti
    • Christopher Welsh
    • A. Rieder
    • J. Traynor
    • Caitlin Gregory
    • G. De Palma
    • M. Pigrau
    • A. Ford
    • J. Macri
    • B. Berger
    • G. Bergonzelli
    • M. Surette
    • S. Collins
    • P. Moayyedi
    • P. Bercik

Abstract

Background & aims: Probiotics can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but little is known about their effects on psychiatric comorbidities. We performed a prospective study to evaluate the effects of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 (BL) on anxiety and depression in patients with IBS.

Methods: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 44 adults with IBS and diarrhea or a mixed-stool pattern (based on Rome III criteria) and mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression (based on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale) at McMaster University in Canada, from March 2011 to May 2014. At the screening visit, clinical history and symptoms were assessed and blood samples were collected. Patients were then randomly assigned to groups and given daily BL (n = 22) or placebo (n = 22) for 6 weeks. At weeks 0, 6, and 10, we determined patients' levels of anxiety and depression, IBS symptoms, quality of life, and somatization using validated questionnaires. At weeks 0 and 6, stool, urine and blood samples were collected, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) test was performed. We assessed brain activation patterns, fecal microbiota, urine metabolome profiles, serum markers of inflammation, neurotransmitters, and neurotrophin levels.

Results: At week 6, 14 of 22 patients in the BL group had reduction in depression scores of 2 points or more on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, vs 7 of 22 patients in the placebo group (P = .04). BL had no significant effect on anxiety or IBS symptoms. Patients in the BL group had a mean increase in quality of life score compared with the placebo group. The fMRI analysis showed that BL reduced responses to negative emotional stimuli in multiple brain areas, including amygdala and fronto-limbic regions, compared with placebo. The groups had similar fecal microbiota profiles, serum markers of inflammation, and levels of neurotrophins and neurotransmitters, but the BL group had reduced urine levels of methylamines and aromatic amino acids metabolites. At week 10, depression scores were reduced in patients given BL vs placebo.

Conclusion: In a placebo-controlled trial, we found that the probiotic BL reduces depression but not anxiety scores and increases quality of life in patients with IBS. These improvements were associated with changes in brain activation patterns that indicate that this probiotic reduces limbic reactivity. ClinicalTrials.gov no. NCT01276626.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; IBS; fMRI.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bifidobacterium bifidum BB01Altered Brain Activity to Negative Emotional StimuliBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium bifidum BB01Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium bifidum BB01Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum B1-05Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum B1-05Reduced Depression Scores at Follow-UpBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum B1-05Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum B1-05Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum BI-05Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum BI-05Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum BL03Improved Brain ActivityBeneficial
Small
Bifidobacterium longum BL03Improved Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum BL03No Change in AnxietyNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium longum BL03Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum Bl-05Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum Bl-05No Change in AnxietyNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium longum Bl-05Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum iVE-15Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum iVE-15Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum KABP-042Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum KABP-042Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum MM-2Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum MM-2Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum MM-2Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175No Change in AnxietyNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum SD-5588Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum SD-5588No Significant Effect on Anxiety LevelsNeutral
Small
Bifidobacterium longum SD-5588Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum SD-5588Reduced Limbic System ReactivityBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum UABl-14Improved Health-related Quality of LifeBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum UABl-14Reduced Depression SymptomsBeneficial
Moderate
Bifidobacterium longum UABl-14Reduced Negative Emotional ResponsesBeneficial
Moderate
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