Gut bacteria has been found to influence Alzheimer's disease.

New Study Shows Gut Bacteria Found To Accelerate Alzheimer’s Disease

Science may be breaking new ground now when it comes to the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease after a new study shows that intestinal bacteria actually accelerates the development of this disease.

Lund University in Sweden has conducted new research which shows that our gut bacteria actually has a strong impact on how we feel because of the interaction that exists between our immune system, diet, and intestinal mucosa. This is why the composition of our gut microbiota is particularly interesting when it comes to new research with different diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

However, it is important to understand that our gut microbiota composition depends on various factors, such as our diet, our genes, and on the bacteria which we receive at birth, according to Science Daily.

Elders suffering from Alzheimer's disease in Guangdong Province, China on September 2, 2005.
Elders suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in Guangdong Province, China on September 2, 2005. New research shows a link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease. [Image by China Photos/Getty Images]

When researchers at Lund University were studying both healthy mice and diseased mice, they noticed that the mice that were suffering from Alzheimer’s disease actually had a different composition of gut bacteria when it was compared to the gut bacteria found in the healthy mice.

Research was also conducted on mice who were found to lack bacteria in order to more fully test the relationship which exists between intestinal bacteria and Alzheimer’s. The mice who had no bacteria were discovered to have a much smaller amount of beta-amyloid plaque in their brain. This type of plaque is actually the lumps which are found to form inside nerve fibers when it comes to cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to more fully understand the connection between intestinal flora and Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at Lund University conducted a transfer of the intestinal bacteria of diseased mice and put it into mice that were germ-free. The discovery was made that these mice ended up with more beta-amyloid plaques in the brain than they would if they had received the gut bacteria from healthy mice.

Frida Fak Hallenius from the Food for Science Health Center noted that it was quite interesting how the mice, which had no gut bacteria, actually developed less plaque in their brains.

“Our study is unique as it shows a direct causal link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease. It was striking that the mice which completely lacked bacteria developed much less plaque in the brain. The results mean that we can now begin researching ways to prevent the disease and delay the onset. We consider this to be a major breakthrough as we used to only be able to give symptom-relieving antiretroviral drugs.”

Neuroscience News has put up an abstract of this new study on Alzheimer’s disease which describes how the gut microbiota of mice used in the study influenced the onset of the disease.

“To this end we sequenced bacterial 16S rRNA from fecal samples of Aβ precursor protein (APP) transgenic mouse model and found a remarkable shift in the gut microbiota as compared to non-transgenic wild-type mice. Subsequently we generated germ-free APP transgenic mice and found a drastic reduction of cerebral Aβ amyloid pathology when compared to control mice with intestinal microbiota.”

Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate Ronald turning 89 on February 6, 2000.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan celebrate Ronald turning 89 on February 6, 2000. Ronald Reagan was found to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. [Image by Getty Images/Getty Images]

This new research on Alzheimer’s disease has been made possible thanks to an international collaboration between Nittaya Marungruang, a doctoral student, and Associate Professor Frida Fak Hallenius at the Food for Science Health Center in Lund, and researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, which is located in Switzerland. Researchers from Belgium and Germany will also be taking part in new study, as they have just received a 50 million EU grant.

These international researchers will continue to look into the role of gut bacteria when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. In the future, the researchers will also be looking into and testing new and different types of therapeutic and preventative strategies which will be derived from the modulation of gut microbiota when it comes to new probiotics and diet.

With this new research on gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease, what other discoveries might the scientists working on this study find as their research continues?

[Featured Image by David Ramos/Getty Images]