COMMENTARY

Microbes in the Gut Influence Neurodegeneration

Alan R. Jacobs, MD

Disclosures

April 13, 2018

This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

Researchers from the University of Louisville and from the University of Michigan have been studying the ways in which the intestinal microbiota plays a role in the pathogenic cascade of neurodegenerative disorders.[1]

They describe a process of microbiota-associated proteopathy and neuroinflammation, which they term "mapranosis."

This concept describes how proteins and other metabolites, produced by gut microbes, influence functions in the brain.

These proteins, called "bacterial amyloid," have been shown in lab animals to misfold in the gut and cause the amyloid produced in the animals' brains to also misfold, in a process called "cross-seeding."

They have shown that this cross-seeding triggers neuroinflammation and may induce oxidative toxicity.

They have found that microbiota metabolites can be beneficial or pathogenic and that host genetics will influence microbiota populations, showing a bi-directionality to this "gut-brain axis."

This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

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