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How a healthy gut impacts emotional response in Japanese quails

New research illustrates how gut microbiota impact the emotional reactivity of Japanese quails

12 April 2019, at 1:06pm

The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, examined the interaction between gut microbiota and the brain, ie, the "microbiota-gut-brain axis," a firm dataset for which remains scarce for poultry science.

The researchers tested how changing the gut microbiota of germ-free quails with high emotional reactivity could lower their emotional behaviour. They did this by introducing gut microbiota from a line of quails with low emotional reactivity to the gut of the highly reactive line and compared their response with a control group of highly reactive quails with unaltered microbiota.

The research showed that quails with high emotional reactivity which received gut microbiota from quails with low emotional reactivty expressed lower emotional reactivity than those in the highly reactive control group.

"This study shows for the first time that a gut microbiota transfer can influence emotional reactivity in Japanese quails strengthening the existence of a microbiota-gut-brain axis in this species of bird," wrote the authors.