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A role for gut microbiota in early-life stress-induced widespread muscle pain in the adult rat.


Adult rats that experienced neonatal limited bedding (NLB), a form of early-life stress, experience persistent muscle mechanical hyperalgesia. Since there is a growing recognition that the gut microbiome regulates pain and nociception, and that early-life stress produces a long-lasting impact on the gut microbiome, we tested the hypothesis that persistent muscle hyperalgesia seen in adult NLB rats could be ameliorated by interventions that modify the gut microbiome. Adult NLB rats received probiotics, either Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (10 billion CFU/150 ml) or De Simone Formulation (DSF) (112.5 billion CFU/150 ml mixture of 8 bacterial species), in their drinking water, or non-absorbable antibiotics, rifaximin or neomycin, admixed with cookie dough, to provide 50 mg/kg. Mechanical nociceptive threshold in the gastrocnemius muscle was evaluated before and at several time points after administration of probiotics or antibiotics. Adult NLB rats fed probiotics L. Rhamnosus or DSF, antibiotics, as well as rats fed non-absorbable antibiotics rifaximin or neomycin, had markedly attenuated muscle mechanical hyperalgesia. We hypothesize that persistent skeletal muscle hyperalgesia produced by NLB stress may be, at least in part, due to a contribution of the gut microbiome, and that modulation of gut microbiome using probiotics or non-absorbable antibiotics, may be novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain.

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