Can gut microbes improve brain recovery post stroke?

Gut Health

Can gut microbes improve brain recovery post-stroke?

Recent research

Recent research from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center shows that the microorganisms in our gut could help to protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation after a stroke.

The community of bacteria that live in the gut (microbiome) produce short chain fatty acids and are recognised as a key component of gut health. Previous studies have shown the impact of microbiome on brain health but its impact upon stroke recovery has not yet been explored.

“There is a growing amount of evidence that inflammation can be influenced by the microbiome, and now we are learning how it affects neuroinflammation after brain injury,” says Ann Stowe, UK associate professor in the Department of Neurology and co-author of the study.

Researchers added short chain fatty acids to the drinking water of mice, and those that drank the fatty acid water experienced a better stroke recovery; they experienced reduced motor impairment as well as increased spine growth on the dendrites of nerve cells, which are crucial for memory structure. They also expressed more genes related to microglia, the brain’s immune cells indicating chain fatty acids may serve as messengers in the gut-brain connection by influencing how the brain responds to injury.

The results could be promising news for stroke patients. “If we can confirm that a dietary supplement could be beneficial to inflammation and recovery after stroke, it could positively impact so many lives. We have nearly 800,000 people a year in the U.S. who are affected by stroke,” said Stowe.



Short-Chain Fatty Acids Improve Poststroke Recovery via Immunological Mechanisms Rebecca SadlerJulia V. CramerSteffanie HeindlSarantos KostidisDene BetzKielen R. ZuurbierBernd H. NorthoffMarieke HeijinkMark P. GoldbergErik J. PlautzStefan RothRainer MalikMartin DichgansLesca M. HoldtCorinne BenakisMartin GieraAnn M. StoweArthur Liesz

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