New Research: Gut-Brain Connection Implicated in MS

Photo Credit: By Allan Ajifo, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found a possible connection between inflammation in the brains of MS patients and the gut.

In preclinical models of MS, or studies on mice instead of humans, researchers identified a molecular pathway for molecules derived from the dietary amino acid tryptophan.  This pathway influences the anti-inflammatory action of cells in the brain called astrocytes.

“What we eat influences the ability of bacteria in our gut to produce small molecules, some of which are capable of traveling all the way to the brain. This opens up an area that’s largely been unknown until now: how the gut controls brain inflammation.” said Francisco Quintana, an investigator in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at BWH and author on the study.

The results of the study are to be published this month in Nature Medicine.

Source: Harvard Gazette

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