JUL 28, 2016 5:19 AM PDT

The Gut Microbiome and Stroke

What’s the old expression, the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach? That might work when it’s about making someone a favorite meal to cheer them up or celebrate an occasion, but in reality, it’s the gut and the brain that are connected, at least in terms of strokes. New research from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research in Munich shows that after a person suffers an ischemic stroke, the stomach, and in turn the gut microbiome, is essentially paralyzed for a short time. And this has consequences for stroke recovery.
 Gut bacteria are affected by strokes
Here’s the most recent information on the connection between the gut and the brain, also called the “gut brain axis.” A study published by a group of researchers in March showed that changes in the gut microbiota of mice (induced by administering antibiotics) affected the outcome of strokes in mice. Strokes in the lab mice were induced by first anesthetizing the mice and then blocking their middle cerebral arteries. In the mice who had altered gut microbiota, poorer outcomes were shown after the stroke. That study, conducted at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, showed that stroke outcome was affected by gut microbial make up, however the most recent research from Munich takes that study and flips it around.
 
The team there, led by Professor Arthur Leisz, set out to investigate whether or not a stroke would impact the gut microbiome. The results showed that in mice who had experienced an induced stroke, the motility of the stomach was significantly slowed after a stroke. If the stomach isn’t operating normally, and the passing of food and nutrients through it is altered, it’s understandable that the type and amounts of bacteria present would also be impacted.
 
To take it another step further, the team in Munich then wanted to see if this altered gut microbiome would then cause further damage after a stroke or impede recovery. Taking fecal samples from the mice whose gut microbiota had been impacted by an induced stroke the team then transferred that bacterium into the guts of mice who were healthy. When those previously healthy mice then experienced an induced stroke via the occlusion of the middle cerebral arteries, the altered microbes that had been transferred to them resulted in larger stroke infarct volumes, making their strokes more severe. In addition, an inflammatory response was triggered in these mice. They showed a higher expression of the inflammatory T cells Th1 and Th17. These T cells migrated from the gut to the brain within days after the stroke, increasing the severity of the damage the stroke did to the brain.
 
The research in Munich, having been preceded by research from New York shows that the process is a circular route. A stroke in the brain will impact the gut, then that altered microbiome will result in more significant brain injury. In the final part of the Munich experiments, the team transplanted fecal bacteria from healthy mice into mice that had experienced strokes. The result? Smaller brain lesions and an increase in regulatory T cells, which protected the brain.  

While it might be unpleasant to think about, these two studies show that future stroke treatments could involve fecal transplants to counter the negative effects of an altered gut microbiome after a stroke. The video below talks more about this research and how medical professionals need to look beyond the brain for stroke impacts and treatments.

Sources: Science News The Scientist
About the Author
English
I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUN 16, 2022
Neuroscience
Caffeine Can Cause Long-Term Changes in the Brain
JUN 16, 2022
Caffeine Can Cause Long-Term Changes in the Brain
It's estimated that as many as 80% of all people partake in the world's most common psychoactive substance, caffeine. Pe ...
JUN 25, 2022
Health & Medicine
New Perspective on the Link Between Social Media and Unhappiness
JUN 25, 2022
New Perspective on the Link Between Social Media and Unhappiness
The paradox that is social media. Social media gives us constant opportunities to connect with other people yet can leav ...
JUL 07, 2022
Neuroscience
Observing Gene Expression in Real-Time in Live Mouse Brains
JUL 07, 2022
Observing Gene Expression in Real-Time in Live Mouse Brains
Scientists still have a lot to learn about how memories are created and stored in the brain. The expression of genes lea ...
JUL 13, 2022
Neuroscience
Does a High-fat Diet Shrink the Brain?
JUL 13, 2022
Does a High-fat Diet Shrink the Brain?
A study published in Metabolic Brain Disease found an association between high-fat diets and several health diseases. In ...
JUL 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
JUL 16, 2022
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
Oxytocin nasal sprays do not improve the recognition of emotions such as anger and sadness in healthy men without autism ...
JUL 18, 2022
Neuroscience
Lifestyle, More than Age, May Predict Dementia Risk
JUL 18, 2022
Lifestyle, More than Age, May Predict Dementia Risk
Multiple lifestyle risk factors for dementia may predict dementia risk more than age. The corresponding study was publis ...
Loading Comments...