Disruption of normal gut microbes changes brain chemistry 
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 Disruption of normal gut microbes changes brain chemistry

Submitted by Kathleen Blanchard RN on 2011-05-18
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Disruption of normal gut microbes changes brain chemistry.
Researchers from McMasters University say they now have evidence
showing bacteria in the gut can alter behavior and brain chemistry ,
potentially making mental health disorders treatable with probiotics.

The scientists found behavior and brain chemistry changes in mice when
they manipulated bacteria in the gut with antibiotics.

When gut flora changed, the mice had an increase in brain derived
neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been associated with depression
and anxiety.

Some of the mice in the experiment were bred to be germ free. Without
normal gut flora, the scientists noted the mice were passive. When
they colonized them with bacteria from mice bred to be more active,
their behavior became more daring and exploratory.

Conversely, when the researchers altered gut bacteria in active mice,
they became more passive.

Behavior changes when gut microbes altered
Stephen Collins, professor of medicine and associate dean research,
Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine said, The exciting results
provide stimulus for further investigating a microbial component to
the causation of behavi{*filter*}illnesses.

The study is the first to link mental health disorders to intestinal
bacteria and is published in the journal Gastroenterology.

The scientists note irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal
disorders are frequently accompanied by anxiety and depression,
leading them to explore whether disruption of gut microbes might alter
brain chemistry that could lead to mental health disorders.

Collins said when bacteria in the gut returned to normal in the mice,
their behavior changed. The mice became less anxious and cautious and
brain chemistry returned to normal.

He notes past studies have focused on the role intestinal bacteria
play in early brain development.

Premysl Bercik, assistant professor of medicine, who conducted
research in the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute
said the findings might indicate probiotics could have a role for
treating anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders,
especially those associated with gastrointestinal conditions like
irritable bowel syndrome.

The authors say the finding show a variety of factors can influence
behavior. Disruption of gut bacteria was shown to alter brain
chemicals. They speculate any change in intestinal bacteria could also
influence behavior and potentially lead to anxiety, depression and
other mental health disorders.

"The Intestinal Microbiota Affect Central Levels of Brain-Derived
Neurotropic Factor and Behavior in Mice"
P. Bercik et al

Image credit: Morguefile

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:35:33 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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