Specific bacteria in the gut prompt mother mice to ignore their young

The Escherichia coli bacteria pictured here are common intestinal bacteria in both humans and animals. There are many different strains, some of which cause disease. Loan: fusebulb

Salki researchers are making unexpected discoveries about how certain bacteria affect the behavior of animals.

As scientists learn more about the microorganisms that colonize the body, collectively called the microbiota, one area of ​​great interest is the effect that these bacteria can have on the brain. A new study led by scientists at the Salki Institute has found out what stress is E. coli: bacteria that, when living in female mice, cause them to ignore their offspring.

The results were published in the journal January 29, 2021 Advances in science, show a direct link between certain bacteria և maternal behavior և. Although research has been done on mice, it adds to the growing body of science that shows that bacteria in the gut are good for brain health and can affect development and behavior.

“To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that the gut microbiota can promote healthy maternal behavior in the և maternal կապ offspring link in the animal model,” said Professor Ales Ales, lead author of the Salk Molecular Systems Physiology Laboratory. “It adds to the growing evidence that there is a gut-brain connection, that bacteria can regulate the behavior of their homeowner.”

The ways in which microbiota can affect mental health and neurological disorders is a growing field of research. In humans, the makeup of the gut microbiota is associated with depression, anxiety, autism and other conditions. But it is difficult to study how individual strains of bacteria affect human behavior, a connection often referred to as the microbiota-gut-brain axis.

In his lab, Ayres uses mice to study how the body’s systems and brain interact to promote good health. This includes focusing on how the body’s processes are regulated by bacteria ների the ways in which bacteria affect growth և behavior. In ongoing experiments, he and his team investigated groups of mice, each with a single strain. E. coli: in their intestines, Mice with one special strain E. coli:, which is called O16. H48 MG1655, growing slower generation. Further research revealed that the mice were smaller because they were malnourished.

“We found out that the cubs were behaving normally, the milk made by the mothers was normal, healthy, it was produced in normal quantities,” says Ayres. “Eventually we realized that it was colonization with these bacteria that led to maternal misconduct. Mice neglected their young. “

Additional experiments have shown that mice can be saved from stunted growth by giving them a growth factor called IGF-1 or by handing it over to mouse-caregivers who could properly care for them. This confirmed that the reason for the suspended growth is not in the cubs, but in the behavior of the mothers.

“Our study provides an unprecedented insight into how the gut microbiota can disrupt maternal behavior և how it can negatively affect offspring development,” says Yujung Michel Lin, a former author of the Ayres Laboratory and now Genentech. for postgraduate studies. “It is very interesting to me that the establishment of a healthy mother-child relationship is due to factors other than hormones, that the microorganisms living in our body play a significant role in it.”

Ayres and his team plan to study how these bacteria trigger changes in mouse behavior. Early discoveries show that bacteria can affect the levels of the hormone serotonin, a hormone associated with feelings of happiness and well-being, but more work is needed.

“It’s very difficult for humans to study these relationships, because the human microbiota has hundreds of different species of microorganisms,” said Ayres, who chairs Helen McLoraine Development. “But as soon as we understand more about the mechanisms of animal models, we may be able to translate our results into humans to see if the bacteria and their effects can be the same.”

O16: The strain H48 MG1655 has been found in the human gut and was previously thought to have no positive or negative effects.

Reference. “Controlling the Microbiota of Maternal Behavior Regulates Early Postnatal Growth” – Yujung Michel Lee, Andre Mu, Martina Wallace, iv Ivan M. Gengataran, Annali F. Furst, Lars Bode, Christian M. Metal անել elle do S. Ayres, January 29, 2021 Advances in science,
DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abe6563:

Other authors of the study were Andrey Moon of Salki և Martina Wallace, iv Ivan M. Gengataran, Anal F. Furst, Lars Bode և Christian M. Metal from the University of California, San Diego.

This work was funded by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Senior Research Award, National Institutes of Health R01 AI114929 և Lynne and Mason Rosenthal / Leo S. Guthman Foundation.

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