Intestinal bacteria release various neuroactive compounds directly or indirectly regulating brain function to modulate host health and behavior through the gut-brain axis. Probiotics have been used as dietary supplements to target gut microbiota (microbiome) for prevention or therapeutic treatment of various diseases including mental disorders. In our study, chickens were used as an animal model to assess, if dietary supplementation of probiotic, Bacillus subtilis, reduces aggressive behaviors following social challenge. Chickens of an aggressive line were housed in single-hen cages. At 24 weeks of age, the hens were paired with similar body weight to identify the dominance rank (day 0). The subordinate and dominant of each pair were fed a regular layer diet or the diet mixed with 250 ppm probiotics for 2 weeks, then the second behavior test was performed between the same pair (day 14). The display of aggressive behaviors in the regular diet-fed chickens was not affected between the levels at day 0 and day 14, while the frequency of threat and aggressive pecking were reduced in the probiotic-fed chickens compared to the levels at day 0. These results suggest dietary probiotic, Bacillus subtilis, could be a suitable strategy for increasing hosts’ mental health.
Part of the book: Oral Health by Using Probiotic Products