Nitrated meat products are associated with mania in humans and altered behavior and brain gene expression in rats

Seva G. Khambadkone, Zachary A. Cordner, Faith Dickerson, Emily G. Severance, Emese Prandovszky, Mikhail Pletnikov, Jianchun Xiao, Ye Li, Gretha J. Boersma, C. Conover Talbot, Wayne W. Campbell, Christian S. Wright, C. Evan Siple, Timothy H. Moran, Kellie L. Tamashiro, Robert H. Yolken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mania is a serious neuropsychiatric condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have suggested that environmental exposures can contribute to mania pathogenesis. We measured dietary exposures in a cohort of individuals with mania and other psychiatric disorders as well as in control individuals without a psychiatric disorder. We found that a history of eating nitrated dry cured meat but not other meat or fish products was strongly and independently associated with current mania (adjusted odds ratio 3.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.24–5.45, p < 8.97 × 10−8). Lower odds of association were found between eating nitrated dry cured meat and other psychiatric disorders. We further found that the feeding of meat preparations with added nitrate to rats resulted in hyperactivity reminiscent of human mania, alterations in brain pathways that have been implicated in human bipolar disorder, and changes in intestinal microbiota. These findings may lead to new methods for preventing mania and for developing novel therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-571
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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