Researchers published an article in Nature Aging 9th August 2021 which looked at the gut microbiota. 

Gut microbiota is increasingly recognised as an important regulator of host immunity and brain health.  The aging process yields dramatic alterations in microbiota.  This is linked to poorer health and frailty in the elderly population.

However, there is limited evidence for the mechanistic role of the gut microbiota in brain health and your immunity during the aging process. 

Boehme and others conducted a faecal microbiota transplantation from either young, 3-4 months or old 19-20 months donor mice into aged recipient mice who were 19-20 months old. 

Transplant of a microbiota from young donors reversed the aging associated differences in peripheral and brain immunity – as well as the hippocampal metabolome and transcriptome of the aged recipient mice.  

Finally, the young donor derived microbiota attenuated selective age associated impairment in a cognitive behaviour when transplanted into the aged host.  Their results revealed that the microbiome may be a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy aging.

Essentially, this research shows that faecal transplants from young mice can enhance the cognitive function in older animals.  They put the mice through a series of cognitive tests designed to measure memory, anxiety and learning capacity.  

Old mice that received these faecal transplants from the youthful donors did better on the cognitive tests than did their counterparts that got transplants from other old mice.

When the researchers looked at the hippocampus, the brain region that regulates learning and memory, they found gene activity patterns and metabolic changes that have been previously linked with improved cognitive function and immune function in the range. 

The researchers concluded that metabolic activity in the young gut bacteria produces molecules across the blood brain barrier and rejuvenate the aging brain.

Dr Paul Ettlinger

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