A good memory of old age thanks to fecal transplants?
Fecal transplants can one day be used as therapy to restore cognitive function in the elderly. Such a fecal transplant changes the gut microbion, which affects learning and memory.
Can a stool transplant change the gut microbiome and thus improve memory? (Image: BillionPhotos.com/Stock.Adobe.com)
Faecal transplantation could help older people improve cognitive functions, researchers from the University of East Anglia, University of Florence and the Quadram Institute hope in light of their study results current. The study was published in the English-speaking journal “Microbiome”.
Effects of age
“Aging is an inevitable process that begins immediately after birth and ultimately leads to physical health problems and a decline in mental well-being and cognitive function,” says study author Dr. David. Vauzour in a press release. Previous research has already shown that the aging process may be linked to age-related changes in the gut microbiota, the expert adds.
What role does the gut-brain axis play?
More recently, the existence of two-way communication between the gut and the brain (called the gut-brain axis) has become an important player in shaping aspects of behavior and cognitive function. The researchers therefore wanted to know if the transmission of gut microbes from older mice to younger mice could affect parts of the central nervous system associated with aging.
The team performed fecal transplants from older adult mice to younger adult mice, then examined the younger mice for markers such as anxiety, exploratory behavior or spatial learning and memory. After transplantation, the group found significant differences in the microbial profiles of young mice.
Memory and learning have deteriorated
Although the younger animals showed no significant changes in markers of fear, exploratory behavior, or movement activity, they nevertheless showed impaired spatial learning and memory, which was evident in a maze test.
Modified protein expression
These changes were accompanied by changes in the expression of proteins associated with synaptic plasticity and neurotransmission, as well as changes in cells in the hippocampal part of their brains that are responsible for learning and memory. the team reports.
The gut microbiota has changed
The study shows that fecal transplantation of old animals to young mice results in an age-related change in the composition of the gut microbiota, the researchers say.
The procedure affected the expression of proteins involved in key functions of the hippocampus. This part of the brain plays an important role in a variety of functions such as memory, learning, spatial navigation, emotional behavior and mood, the research team said.
Transplantation of young mice on old mice?
Bottom Line: Young mice began to behave like older mice in terms of their cognitive function, the researchers say. While it remains to be seen whether transplantation from very young donors can restore cognitive function in elderly recipients, the results show that age-related changes in the gut microbiome can alter components of the central nervous system.
The research group therefore hopes that by reversing the process, fecal transplantation can one day be used to combat cognitive decline in the elderly.
Restoration of a young microbiota
This research highlights the importance of the gut-brain axis in aging and provides clues for the development of therapies aimed at restoring the juvenile microbiota in order to improve cognitive functions and the quality of life of the elderly, explain the experts.
Manipulating the microbiome is increasingly seen as a way to improve or maintain human health. And the new findings are an exciting indication of the microbiome’s potential to aid healthy aging, the researchers summarize. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Alfonsina D’Amato, Lorenzo Di Cesare Mannelli, Elena Lucarini, Angela L. Man, Gwenaelle Le Gall et al .: Transplantation of faecal microbiota from elderly donor mice affects spatial learning and memory via the modulation of plasticity Hippocampal Synaptic and Neurotransmission Related Proteins in Young Recipients, in Microbiome (published October 1, 2020), Microbiome University of East Anglia: Could A Poop Transplant One Day Be The Secret To Eternal Youth? (published October 2, 2020), University of East Anglia
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.