Gut bacteria affect brain development

Gut bacteria affect brain development

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Gut bacteria affect brain development

Bacteria found in extremely premature babies are at high risk for brain damage. Researchers have now found possible targets for early treatment of such damage outside the brain: bacteria in the gut of premature babies may play a key role. The research team found that overgrowth of the gastrointestinal tract with the Klebsiella bacterium is associated with an increased presence of certain immune cells and the development of neurological damage in premature babies.

Early development of the gut, brain and immune system are closely related. Researchers refer to this as the gut-immunity-brain axis. Bacteria in the gut cooperate with the immune system, which in turn monitors gut microbes and develops appropriate responses to them.

In addition, the intestine is in contact with the brain via the vagus nerve and the immune system.“We investigated the role this axis plays in the brain development of extreme premature babies”, states the first author of the study, David Seki.

“The microorganisms of the gut microbiome, which is a vital collection of hundreds of species of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes, are balanced in healthy people. However, especially in premature babies, whose immune systems and microbiome have not been able to fully develop, changes are very likely to occur. These changes can have negative effects on the brain, ”explains the microbiologist and immunologist.

Bacteria: Patterns in the microbiome provide clues to brain damage

Gut bacteria affect brain development