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      Gut instincts: microbiota as a key regulator of brain development, ageing and neurodegeneration.

      1 , 2 , 1 , 3

      The Journal of physiology

      Wiley-Blackwell

      ageing, gut-brain axis, stress

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          Abstract

          There is a growing realisation that the gut-brain axis and its regulation by the microbiota may play a key role in the biological and physiological basis of neurodevelopmental, age-related and neurodegenerative disorders. The routes of communication between the microbiota and brain are being unravelled and include the vagus nerve, gut hormone signalling, the immune system, tryptophan metabolism or by way of microbial metabolites such as short chain fatty acids. The importance of early life gut microbiota in shaping future health outcomes is also emerging. Disturbances of this composition by way of antibiotic exposure, lack of breastfeeding, infection, stress and the environmental influences coupled with the influence of host genetics can result in long-term effects on physiology and behaviour, at least in animal models. It is also worth noting that mode of delivery at birth influences microbiota composition with those born by Caesarean section having a distinctly different microbiota in early life to those born per vaginum. At the other extreme of life, ageing is associated with a narrowing in microbial diversity and healthy ageing correlates with a diverse microbiome. Recently, the gut microbiota has been implicated in a variety of conditions including depression, autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. There is still considerable debate as to whether or not the gut microbiota changes are core to the pathophysiology of such conditions or are merely epiphenomenal. It is plausible that such neuropsychiatric disorders might be treated in the future by targeting the microbiota either by microbiota transplantation, antibiotics or psychobiotics.

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          Most cited references 161

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          A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing.

          To understand the impact of gut microbes on human health and well-being it is crucial to assess their genetic potential. Here we describe the Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing, assembly and characterization of 3.3 million non-redundant microbial genes, derived from 576.7 gigabases of sequence, from faecal samples of 124 European individuals. The gene set, approximately 150 times larger than the human gene complement, contains an overwhelming majority of the prevalent (more frequent) microbial genes of the cohort and probably includes a large proportion of the prevalent human intestinal microbial genes. The genes are largely shared among individuals of the cohort. Over 99% of the genes are bacterial, indicating that the entire cohort harbours between 1,000 and 1,150 prevalent bacterial species and each individual at least 160 such species, which are also largely shared. We define and describe the minimal gut metagenome and the minimal gut bacterial genome in terms of functions present in all individuals and most bacteria, respectively.
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            Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome

            Long-term diet influences the structure and activity of the trillions of microorganisms residing in the human gut 1–5 , but it remains unclear how rapidly and reproducibly the human gut microbiome responds to short-term macronutrient change. Here, we show that the short-term consumption of diets composed entirely of animal or plant products alters microbial community structure and overwhelms inter-individual differences in microbial gene expression. The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms (Alistipes, Bilophila, and Bacteroides) and decreased the levels of Firmicutes that metabolize dietary plant polysaccharides (Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale, and Ruminococcus bromii). Microbial activity mirrored differences between herbivorous and carnivorous mammals 2 , reflecting trade-offs between carbohydrate and protein fermentation. Foodborne microbes from both diets transiently colonized the gut, including bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Finally, increases in the abundance and activity of Bilophila wadsworthia on the animal-based diet support a link between dietary fat, bile acids, and the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease 6 . In concert, these results demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.
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              Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns.

              Upon delivery, the neonate is exposed for the first time to a wide array of microbes from a variety of sources, including maternal bacteria. Although prior studies have suggested that delivery mode shapes the microbiota's establishment and, subsequently, its role in child health, most researchers have focused on specific bacterial taxa or on a single body habitat, the gut. Thus, the initiation stage of human microbiome development remains obscure. The goal of the present study was to obtain a community-wide perspective on the influence of delivery mode and body habitat on the neonate's first microbiota. We used multiplexed 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing to characterize bacterial communities from mothers and their newborn babies, four born vaginally and six born via Cesarean section. Mothers' skin, oral mucosa, and vagina were sampled 1 h before delivery, and neonates' skin, oral mucosa, and nasopharyngeal aspirate were sampled <5 min, and meconium <24 h, after delivery. We found that in direct contrast to the highly differentiated communities of their mothers, neonates harbored bacterial communities that were undifferentiated across multiple body habitats, regardless of delivery mode. Our results also show that vaginally delivered infants acquired bacterial communities resembling their own mother's vaginal microbiota, dominated by Lactobacillus, Prevotella, or Sneathia spp., and C-section infants harbored bacterial communities similar to those found on the skin surface, dominated by Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium spp. These findings establish an important baseline for studies tracking the human microbiome's successional development in different body habitats following different delivery modes, and their associated effects on infant health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J. Physiol. (Lond.)
                The Journal of physiology
                Wiley-Blackwell
                1469-7793
                0022-3751
                Jan 15 2017
                : 595
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ] APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Ireland.
                [2 ] Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Ireland.
                [3 ] Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland.
                Article
                10.1113/JP273106
                5233671
                27641441

                ageing, gut-brain axis, stress

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