Objective: Magnesium deficiency has been associated with anxiety in humans, and rodent studies have demonstrated the gut microbiota to impact behaviour.
Methods: We investigated the impact of 6 weeks of dietary magnesium deficiency on gut microbiota composition and anxiety-like behaviour and whether there was a link between the two. A total of 20 C57BL/6 mice, fed either a standard diet or a magnesium-deficient diet for 6 weeks, were tested using the light-dark box anxiety test. Gut microbiota composition was analysed by denaturation gradient gel electrophoresis.
Results: We demonstrated that the gut microbiota composition correlated significantly with the behaviour of dietary unchallenged mice. A magnesium-deficient diet altered the gut microbiota, and was associated with altered anxiety-like behaviour, measured by decreased latency to enter the light box.
Conclusion: Magnesium deficiency altered behavior. The duration of magnesium deficiency is suggested to influence behaviour in the evaluated test.
Keywords: animal models; anxiety; gut microbiota; magnesium.