New evidence has been found of a connection between Alzheimer's and the intestinal microbiome

A group of scientists from the University of Geneva and the University of Naples has found new evidence of a connection between Alzheimer's disease and the composition of the intestinal microbiome. The experts found that the substances produced by the bacteria cause inflammation leading to brain damage. The discovery will help to develop prevention and treatment strategies related to microbial exposure. 

The study was attended by 89 participants aged 65 to 85 years. Among them were both healthy people and patients with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Specialists measured blood levels of metabolic products that were produced by bacteria living in the intestines and also performed brain scans (PET imaging) to detect amyloid plaques, which play a key role in brain damage in Alzheimer's disease.

Experts found that some bacterial products, such as acetate and valerate, cause inflammation in the brain, resulting in increased amyloid accumulation and plaque formation. At the same time, short-chain acid such as butyrate, which is also produced by bacteria in the intestine, protects the brain from inflammation.

 - The results of our study are indisputable: certain products of intestinal microbiota metabolism correlate with the number of amyloid plaques in the brain," says Moira Marizzoni, one of the authors. - High levels of lipopolysaccharides and some short-chain fatty acids (acetate and valerate) in the blood were associated with high amyloid deposits in the brain. Conversely, high levels of other short-chain fatty acids, butyrate, were associated with lower amounts of amyloid. 

Further, scientists have to determine which bacteria in the intestinal microbiota produce substances that cause inflammation in the brain, and which ones synthesize protective metabolites. Based on the findings, experts plan to develop probiotic cocktails to reduce inflammation in the brain, leading to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. 

Nov. 16, 2020, 11:01 a.m.

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