Scientists investigate the ‘black box’ of bacterial effects on the brain and behaviour

Posted by: | October 31, 2023 | Comments

Researchers from McMaster University (Canada) had a clear question in mind when they conducted their recent experiment: if a mouse had its gut microbiota altered by antibiotics in early life, what would happen to its brain?

The question might have seemed a non-sequitur—why would something that changes the gut have any effect on the brain?

Yet the group of researchers, led by John Bienenstock and Sophie Leclercq, found that exposure to low-dose antibiotics did affect the mouse brains—and not just a little. The antibiotic-exposed mice showed an altered blood-brain barrier and a spike in specific immune-signalling molecules (cytokines) in the frontal cortex. Most importantly, however, the antibiotics changed mouse behaviour: the young mice acted differently in social situations and when faced with difficult tasks. They were also more aggressive than the mice with no alterations in their gut microbiota.

“We used really low dose penicillin—a pediatric dose in a mouse, which is miniscule—and showed significant effects,” John Bienenstock explains in an interview with GMFH editors. “There were all sorts of effects in terms of social behaviour, social interaction, social avoidance.”

Read Here: Gut Microbiota for Health

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