The gastro-intestinal tract hosts a complex microbial community, the gut microbiota, whose collective genome coding capacity vastly exceeds that of the host genome. Gut microbiota is thus regarded as a full organ likely to affect host physiology. In particular, evidence is emerging that gut microbiota may participate to the gut-brain axis and, consequently, that a microbiota balance disruption may contribute to brain disorders. In this context, we have shown that gut microbiota influences behavioural and neuroendocrine response to stress, by comparing germfree and conventional rats. One possible mode of action is the production of metabolites capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. Indole is a microbial metabolite of tryptophan subsequently oxidized by the liver into neuroactive molecules, such as isatin and oxindole. Therefore, we have undertaken studies with gnotobiotic rats to test the effect of excessive gut microbial production of indole on various brain functions, including stress response. First results will be presented.
Investigador de contacte:
Dr. Francisco Guarner / Marta Llopis