Gut health plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, new study finds
A series of experiments presented today (Wednesday March 2) at the Alzheimer’s Research UK 2022 conference at the Brighton Centre, implicated gut health in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, a devastating disease for those affected, their loved ones and their caregivers. With one in three people born today likely to develop dementia in their lifetime, scientists are exploring potential links that could help uncover approaches for new treatments. This includes work to better understand our gut and brain health.
The gut is host to a community of bacteria called the gut microbiome. The precise makeup of the microbiome differs from individual to individual, both in the types and amounts of bacteria present. This microbial makeup can have far-reaching effects on other parts of our bodies, and new evidence suggests a relationship with brain health and the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
New research, not yet peer-reviewed, presented at the Alzheimer’s Research UK 2022 conference, highlights newly identified links between gut bacteria, inflammation and brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers.
Dr Edina Silajdžić, a postdoctoral fellow working in the research laboratory of Professor Sandrine Thuret at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (IoPPN) at King’s College London, analyzed blood samples from 68 people with AD Alzheimer’s disease and a similar number of unaffected people. This study, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry of IRCCS, Italy, coordinated by Dr. Annamaria Cattaneo, revealed a distinct intestinal bacterial composition in people with Alzheimer’s disease as well as more markers of inflammation in their stool and blood samples.
Dr Edina Silajdžić said:
“Most people are surprised that their gut bacteria can affect their brain health, but the evidence is mounting and we understand how it happens. Our gut bacteria can influence the level of inflammation in our body, and we know that inflammation is a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease.
“When we treated brain stem cells with blood from people with Alzheimer’s disease, they were less able to grow new nerve cells than those treated with blood from people without memory problems. This leads us to believe that inflammation associated with gut bacteria can affect the brain via the blood.
In research by Dr Stefanie Grabrucker, postdoctoral researcher at APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork led by Professor Yvonne Nolan, stool samples were taken from people with and without Alzheimer’s disease and transplanted into rats.
Professor Yvonne Nolan, who leads this collaborative Centers of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (CoEN) project with partners from King’s College London and IRCCS, Italy, said:
“We found that rats with gut bacteria from people with Alzheimer’s disease performed worse on memory tests, did not develop as many new nerve cells in areas of the brain associated with memory, and had higher levels of inflammation in the brain.”
“Our results suggest that symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may, in part, be caused by abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract. While it is currently proving difficult to directly address Alzheimer’s processes in the brain, the gut potentially represents an alternative target that may be easier to influence with medication or dietary changes.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Taking these results together reveals differences in the composition of gut bacteria between people with and without dementia and suggests that the microbiome may underlie changes related to Alzheimer’s disease. Future research should build on these findings so that we can understand how gut health fits into the larger picture of genetic and lifestyle factors that impact a person’s risk of dementia.
“Meetings like Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference give researchers the opportunity to hear the very latest information from fellow scientists, but we will have to wait for researchers to publish their full findings before we can assess the full impact of this research. .
“The composition of our gut microbiota is one of many potential risk factors for dementia that we could influence by leading a healthy lifestyle. To maintain a healthy brain as we age, the current best evidence suggests that we should stay physically fit, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, drink only within recommended limits, and control blood sugar. blood pressure and cholesterol.