Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood

Date:
April 10, 2007
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Treatment of mice with a "friendly" bacteria, normally found in the soil, altered their behavior in a way similar to that produced by antidepressant drugs, reports research published in the latest issue of Neuroscience. These findings aid the understanding of why an imbalance in the immune system leaves some individuals vulnerable to mood disorders like depression.

Colonies of Mycobacterium vaccae grown on Sauton's agar.
Credit: Courtesy of co-author Laura Rosa Brunet, UCL

Bacteria found in the soil activated a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin.

Treatment of mice with a 'friendly' bacteria, normally found in the soil, altered their behavior in a way similar to that produced by antidepressant drugs, reports research published in the latest issue of Neuroscience.

These findings, identified by researchers at the University of Bristol and colleagues at University College London, aid the understanding of why an imbalance in the immune system leaves some individuals vulnerable to mood disorders like depression.

Dr Chris Lowry, lead author on the paper from Bristol University, said: "These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn't all be spending more time playing in the dirt."

Interest in the project arose after human cancer patients being treated with the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae unexpectedly reported increases in their quality of life. Lowry and his colleagues reasoned that this effect could be caused by activation of neurons in the brain that contained serotonin.

When the team looked closely at the brains of mice, they found that treatment with M. vaccae activated a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin. The lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to cause depression in people, thus M. vaccae's effects on the behavior of mice may be due to increasing the release of serotonin in parts of the brain that regulate mood.

The new research supports this hypothesis, but future studies will be designed to determine if M. vaccae, other bacteria, or pharmaceutical compounds have antidepressant properties through activation of this group of serotonin neurons.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102001.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2007, April 10). Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102001.htm
University of Bristol. "Getting Dirty May Lift Your Mood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102001.htm (accessed July 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins