Gut Microbiota Influences Blood Brain Barrier Permeability

Posted by: | November 24, 2023 | Comments

A new study in mice, conducted by researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet together with colleagues in Singapore and the United States, shows that our natural gut-residing microbes can influence the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood. According to the authors, the findings provide experimental evidence that our indigenous microbes contribute to the mechanism that closes the blood-brain barrier before birth. The results also support previous observations that gut microbiota can impact brain development and function.

The blood-brain barrier is a highly selective barrier that prevents unwanted molecules and cells from entering the brain from the bloodstream. In the current study, being published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the international interdisciplinary research team demonstrates that the transport of molecules across the blood-brain barrier can be modulated by gut microbes – which therefore play an important role in the protection of the brain.

The investigators reached this conclusion by comparing the integrity and development of the blood-brain barrier between two groups of mice: the first group was raised in an environment where they were exposed to normal bacteria, and the second (called germ-free mice) was kept in a sterile environment without any bacteria.

Read more at: Neuroscience News

  • Randi Lundberg

    Not only do the gut microbes affect the gut´s permeability, but apparently they are also capable of influencing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier - in mice. Another example of the gut microbiota´s effect on distant tissues.
    This will need to be further explored, because the mechanisms are unknown, but the study adds a layer of consideration to the idea that modulating the gut microbiota by pre/probiotics may be a therapeutic road.
    And what do antibiotic treatments mean to our blood-brain barrier? The study didn´t adress that, but they showed that colonizing adult germ-free mice improved the blood-brain barrier function, so the barrier may be modifiable in the adult life.

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