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Dietary magnesium deficiency affects gut microbiota and anxiety-like behaviour in C57BL/6N mice

  • Bettina Pyndt Jørgensen (a1), Gudrun Winther (a2), Pernille Kihl (a1), Dennis S. Nielsen (a3), Gregers Wegener (a2) (a4), Axel K. Hansen (a1) and Dorte B. Sørensen (a1)...



Magnesium deficiency has been associated with anxiety in humans, and rodent studies have demonstrated the gut microbiota to impact behaviour.


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.


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.


Magnesium deficiency altered behavior. The duration of magnesium deficiency is suggested to influence behaviour in the evaluated test.


Corresponding author

Bettina Pyndt Jørgensen, Section of Experimental Animal Models, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 57, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. Tel: +453 533 2724; Fax: +453 533 2755; E-mail:


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Dietary magnesium deficiency affects gut microbiota and anxiety-like behaviour in C57BL/6N mice

  • Bettina Pyndt Jørgensen (a1), Gudrun Winther (a2), Pernille Kihl (a1), Dennis S. Nielsen (a3), Gregers Wegener (a2) (a4), Axel K. Hansen (a1) and Dorte B. Sørensen (a1)...


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