Neuropsychiatric behaviors caused by sleep deprivation (SD) are severe public health problems in modern society worldwide. This study investigated the effect of fish oil on neuropsychiatric behaviors, barrier injury, microbiota dysbiosis, and microbiota-derived metabolites in SD rats. The rats subjected to SD had significantly elevated blood levels of corticosteroid and lipopolysaccharides and exhibited anxiety-like behavior in the open field test, depression-like behavior in the forced swim test, and cognitive impairment in the Morris water maize test. We observed that the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines in the SD rats resulted in colonic epithelial barrier injury including a decreased number of goblet cells and increased expression of selected tight junction proteins in the gut and brain. The gut microbiome status revealed a significant decrease in the microbial diversity in the SD rats, especially in probiotics. By contrast, a fish oil-based diet reversed SD-induced behavioral changes and improved the epithelial barrier injury and dysbiosis of the microbiota in the colon. These findings could be attributable to the increase in probiotics and short-chain fatty acid (SCFAs) production, improvement in selected intestinal barrier proteins, increase in SCFA receptor expression, and decrease in blood circulation proinflammatory status due to fish oil supplementation.
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