Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Scientists have found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior.

One type of bacteria normally found in the gut is E. coli. E. coli bacteria serve the useful task of keeping other bacterial organisms in check (however, the O157:H7 E. coli strain produces a potent toxin).
Credit: CDC/ Berenice Thomason

A team of scientists from around the globe have found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior. The study is published in the scientific journal PNAS, and is the result of an ongoing collaboration between scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore.

Related Articles


The research team compared behavior and gene expression in two groups of mice -- those raised with normal microorganisms, and those raised in the absence of microorganisms (or germ-free mice). The scientists observed that adult germ-free mice displayed different behavior from mice with normal microbiota, suggesting that gut bacteria may have a significant effect on the development of the brain in mammals.

The adult germ-free mice were observed to be more active and engaged in more 'risky' behavior than mice raised with normal microorganisms. When germ-free mice were exposed to normal microorganisms very early in life, as adults they developed the behavioral characteristics of those exposed to microorganisms from birth. In contrast, colonizing adult germ-free mice with bacteria did not influence their behavior.

Subsequent gene profiling in the brain identified genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory and motor control that were affected by the absence of gut bacteria, highlighting the profound changes in the mice that developed in the absence of microorganisms. This suggests that, over the course of evolution, colonization of the gut by microorganisms (in total 1.5 kilograms) in early infancy became integrated into early brain development.

"The data suggests that there is a critical period early in life when gut microorganisms affect the brain and change the behavior in later life," says Dr. Rochellys Diaz Heijtz, first author of the study.

"Not only are signal substances like serotonin and dopamine subject to regulation by bacteria, synapse function also appears to be regulated by colonizing bacteria," continues Prof. Sven Pettersson, coordinator of the study. "However, it is important to note that this new knowledge can be applied only to mice, and that it is too early to say anything about the effect of gut bacteria on the human brain."

In addition to Sven Pettersson and Rochellys Diaz Heijtz, Prof. Hans Forssberg at Stockholm Brain Institute (SBI) and Karolinska Institutet, and Dr. Martin Hibberd from the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) where involved in the research project. The findings presented are a result of a long-standing and ongoing collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and the GIS in Singapore aimed at exploring host-microbe interactions in a systematic manner.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. R. D. Heijtz, S. Wang, F. Anuar, Y. Qian, B. Bjorkholm, A. Samuelsson, M. L. Hibberd, H. Forssberg, S. Pettersson. Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1010529108

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083928.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2011, February 1). Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083928.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201083928.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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