The intestinal microbiome, the set of microorganisms that live in our intestines, has been the subject of a new study that confirms how decisive it can be in other areas of the body. Now a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, describes how intestinal microbiome can protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation following stroke.
According to the researchers, short-chain fatty acids are responsible for the improvement after stroke. These fats are produced by bacteria in the intestine and are one of the basic components of intestinal health. This is one of the first studies to explore the link between the gut microbiome and stroke itself, although it was already known that microbes in the gut can affect the health of the brain.
According to Ann Stowe, a researcher at the Department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky and one of the authors of the study, the microbiome can affect neuroinflammation following a brain injury and this is demonstrated by the experiments she and her colleagues carried out on mice. The water-drinking rodents to which the scientists had added short-chain fatty acids showed better recovery from stroke compared to mice in the control group.
They showed, in particular, less pronounced motor impairment and greater growth of nerve cell dendrites, which are very important for memory. The same mice treated with short-chain fatty acids also showed a higher amount of genes linked to the microglia, the immune cell complex in the brain.
According to the researchers, the same short-chain fatty acids act as messengers in the link between the intestine and the brain, in this case positively influencing the way the brain itself recovers lesions.
At this point, the researchers already think of a food supplement based on short-chain fatty acids as a relatively safe additional therapy for the rehabilitation of stroke patients.