London: Your gut bacteria may accelerate the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study that may pave the way for therapies to prevent and treat the neurocognitive disorder.
Since our gut bacteria have a major impact on how we feel through the interaction between the immune system, the intestinal mucosa and our diet, the composition of the gut microbiota is of great interest to research on diseases such as Alzheimer's. Exactly how our gut microbiota composition is composed
depends on which bacteria we receive at birth, our genes and our diet, researchers said.
By studying both healthy and diseased mice, researchers from Lund University in Sweden found that mice suffering from Alzheimer's have a different composition of gut bacteria compared to mice that are healthy. They also studied Alzheimer's disease in mice that completely lacked bacteria to further test the relationship
between intestinal bacteria and the disease.
Mice without bacteria had a significantly smaller amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. Beta-amyloid plaques are the lumps that form at the nerve fibres in cases of Alzheimer's disease. To clarify the link between intestinal flora and the
occurrence of the disease, the researchers transferred intestinal bacteria from diseased mice to germ-free mice, and discovered that the mice developed more beta-amyloid plaques in the brain compared to if they had received bacteria from
"Our study is unique as it shows a direct causal link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer's disease. It was striking that the mice which completely lacked bacteria developed much less plaque in the brain," said Frida Fak Hallenius, at the Food for Health Science Centre.
"The results mean that we can now begin researching ways to prevent the disease and delay the onset. We consider this to be a major breakthrough as we used to only be able to give symptom-relieving antiretroviral drugs," she said....