The microbiome and brain health
Increasing credence is given to the role of the gut microbiome in neurodegenerative diseases. Pro-inflammatory gut bacterial taxa have been associated with brain amyloidosis and peripheral inflammation in the cognitively impaired elderly. Bacteria are known to influence brain function, not only via the chemicals that they synthesize, but also by interacting with the immune system to control inflammation around the body, including the brain, whilst the depletion of gut bacteria has been shown to reduce the activation of brain microglial cells.
Our research explores this role of the gut microbiome in the neuroinflammation that accompanies dementia. We investigate gut bacterial communities through next-generation sequencing and metabolite profiling to find functional microbial differences and host-bacterial chemical interactions. Specific pathways that are known to involve microbial metabolism, are analysed using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy assays. These data are then analysed using computational modelling to enable greater understanding of the gut-microbial relationship with dementia and brain health.
Key objectives and contact for lead
- To establish and understand the relationship between the gut microbiome and dementia
- Identify bacterial communities and metabolites that are associated with early cognitive decline, dementia, and dementia risk factors
- Investigate specific gut-microbial metabolites and metabolic pathways and their associations with, inflammation and dementia risk
- Apply pharmaco-microbiomic pipelines designed to identify biomarkers that can that can be used to improve the stratification of patients and their response to drug treatment that can be influenced by the gut microbiota
Please address enquiries about this programme to:
Professor Elaine Holmes
Dr Luke Whiley
+44 (0)20 7594 2107