How Gut Microbiota Modulate Seizure Susceptibility

Alan R. Jacobs, MD


February 11, 2019

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

Researchers from UCLA have published a study identifying specific gut bacteria that mediate the anticonvulsant effects of the ketogenic diet.[1] They analyzed the effects that the ketogenic diet had in mice reared as germ-free in a sterile lab environment and in mice treated with antibiotics that depleted all gut microbes. In both cases, the ketogenic diet lost its anticonvulsant effects completely.

The researchers identified Akkermansia and Parabacteroides species as being present and elevated in number by the ketogenic diet. Adding back both microbial species together restored seizure protection in both groups of mice, though neither species did so alone. Finally, they determined that brain levels of GABA were increased relative to glutamate by the bacteria.

The authors concluded that gut microbiota modulate host metabolism and seizure susceptibility in mice. They're proceeding to examine the clinical applications of this research.

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


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