Gut bacteria found to have a role in Alzheimer’s disease

The investigation into the holistic effect of the gut microbiome on the human body has been continuously expanding in the past 10 years. We are rapidly discovering that the vast communities of bacteria that live in our gut are actually playing roles in everything from Multiple Sclerosis to depression. Two additional studies have now found connections between the gut microbiome and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin compared the gut microbiome of 25 human subjects with Alzheimer’s disease to 25 cognitively healthy human subjects.  DNA sequencing was used to take the ‘snapshot’ of gut bacterial composition during the study. The researchers found that individuals with dementia had decreased microbial richness and diversity in their gut microbiome compared to people without a diagnosis of dementia.   The researchers were able to identify broad taxonomical changes in gut bacterial composition, as well as changes in abundance of a number of bacterial groups, some of which were more abundant in people with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and some of which were less abundant.

The results of this study support a previous study by the researchers from the University of Chicago in 2016, which suggested that gut bacteria plays a role in the accumulation of amyloid plaques, a buildup of proteins characteristic of a number of diseases including Alzheimer’s, diabetes and Huntington’s disease. Specifically, the U Chicago study showed that the prolonged shifts in gut microbial composition and diversity induced by long-term antibiotic treatment regime decreases amyloid plaque deposition.

These findings suggested that the gut microbiota community diversity can impact amyloidosis hence progression of Alzheimer’s. Keeping a healthy gut microbiota might be an additional tool to delay the progression of the disease.

Thanks for reading.

Journal References:

  1. Nicholas M. Vogt,Robert L. Kerby,Kimberly A. Dill-McFarland, Sandra J. Harding, Andrew P. Merluzzi, Sterling C. Johnson, Cynthia M. Carlsson, Sanjay Asthana, Henrik Zetterberg, Kaj Blennow, Barbara B. Bendlin, Federico E. Rey, Gut microbiome alterations in Alzheimer’s disease Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 13537(2017); doi:10.1038/s41598-017-13601-y
  2. Myles R. Minter,Can Zhang,Vanessa Leone, Daina L. Ringus, Xiaoqiong Zhang, Paul Oyler-Castrillo, Mark W. Musch, Fan Liao, Joseph F. Ward, David M. Holtzman, Eugene B. Chang, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Sangram S. Sisodia, Antibiotic-induced perturbations in gut microbial diversity influences neuro-inflammation and amyloidosis in a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease, Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 30028 (2016); doi:10.1038/srep30028

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