Biomedical Sciences Research Seminar Series

Are bacteria good for your brain? Linking gut microbes, blood and the brain’s defences.

Atomic structure of a biological molecule
Seminars

As part of the School of Science and Technology Biomedical Sciences Research Centre Seminar Series, Dr Simon McArthur, Queen Mary University of London presents: Are bacteria good for your brain? Linking gut microbes, blood and the brain’s defences.

  • From: Wednesday 27 February 2019, 1.10 pm
  • To: Wednesday 27 February 2019, 2 pm
  • Location: ERD 282, Erasmus Darwin, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS

Past event

Event details

As part of the School of Science and Technology Biomedical Sciences Research Centre Seminar Series, Dr Simon McArthur, Queen Mary University of London presents: Are bacteria good for your brain? Linking gut microbes, blood and the brain’s defences.

Abstract

The body, and particularly the gut, is host to a diverse range of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, collectively known as the microbiota.  These organisms are not neutral, but are capable of modifying many physiological processes, including food absorption, immune system activity, and brain function. Changes to gut microbes have been shown (in animals) to influence anxiety and stress, memory and social behaviour. Moreover, it is increasingly clear that gut microbes can influence brain disorders including autism, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Our research focuses on how these influences are mediated, centring on the numerous bacteria-derived molecules circulating in the blood. In particular, we study how they influence the main protective system of the brain, the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This structure acts to keep potentially harmful agents out of the delicate brain environment, and importantly becomes significantly less effective in the very earliest stages of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, possibly contributing to the disease process.
We have investigated the effects of two main classes of food-derived microbial metabolites upon the BBB, namely short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and methylamines. SCFAs are produced by microbial fermentation of soluble dietary fibre, whilst methylamines are products of microbial metabolism of choline and L-carnitine from red meat and fish. By combining bioinformatic analysis of transcriptomic data, cellular models of the BBB and murine studies of brain permeability, we have shown these molecules can modify BBB integrity in a specific manner, acting at the inter-cellular junctions in the lining of brain blood vessels and through modification of anti-inflammatory defences. This work demonstrates that diet-derived molecules, produced by the gut microbiota, can directly influence brain health, and potentially, susceptibility to neurological disease.

This seminar is hosted by Lesley Hoyes

All welcome.

Location details

Room/Building:

ERD 282, Erasmus Darwin

Address:

Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
Nottingham
NG11 8NS

Past event

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