Gut Bacteria May Control Movement
It may not only be an army that travels on its stomach. Gut bacteria may control movement according to research.
Scientific understanding of the gut microbiome is really just beginning. There are trillions of bacteria in the gut microbiome. Most have not even been identified. The interactions among those bacteria are almost unknown. And scientists continue to find new connections between gut health and our physical / mental health.
Summary: According to researchers, gut bacteria may regulate the neural circuits behind movement in fruit flies. Researchers say gut bacteria may play a similar role in controlling mammalian locomotion, and even movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
A new study puts a fresh spin on what it means to “go with your gut.” The findings, published in Nature, suggest that gut bacteria may control movement in fruit flies and identify the neurons involved in this response. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“This study provides additional evidence for a connection between the gut and the brain, and in particular outlines how gut bacteria may influence behavior, including movement,” said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at NINDS.
Researchers led by Sarkis K. Mazmanian, Ph.D., professor of microbiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and graduate student Catherine E. Schretter, observed that germ-free flies, which did not carry bacteria, were hyperactive. For instance, they walked faster, over greater distances, and took shorter rests than flies that had normal levels of microbes. Dr. Mazmanian and his team investigated ways in which gut bacteria may affect behavior in fruit flies.
“Locomotion is important for a number of activities such as mating and searching for food. It turns out that gut bacteria may be critical for fundamental behaviors in animals,” said Dr. Mazmanian.
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