Altered gut microbiome and autism like behavior are associated with parental high salt diet in male mice

Kazi Farhana Afroz, Noah Reyes, Kobe Young, Kajal Parikh, Varsha Misra, Karina Alviña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Neurodevelopmental disorders are conditions caused by the abnormal development of the central nervous system. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently the most common form of such disorders, affecting 1% of the population worldwide. Despite its prevalence, the mechanisms underlying ASD are not fully known. Recent studies have suggested that the maternal gut microbiome can have profound effects on neurodevelopment. Considering that the gut microbial composition is modulated by diet, we tested the hypothesis that ASD-like behavior could be linked to maternal diet and its associated gut dysbiosis. Therefore, we used a mouse model of parental high salt diet (HSD), and specifically evaluated social and exploratory behaviors in their control-fed offspring. Using 16S genome sequencing of fecal samples, we first show that (1) as expected, HSD changed the maternal gut microbiome, and (2) this altered gut microbiome was shared with the offspring. More importantly, behavioral analysis of the offspring showed hyperactivity, increased repetitive behaviors, and impaired sociability in adult male mice from HSD-fed parents. Taken together, our data suggests that parental HSD consumption is strongly associated with offspring ASD-like behavioral abnormalities via changes in gut microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8364
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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