Antibiotics stop new brain cells from growing

Antibiotics stop new brain cells from growing

Antibiotics stop new brain cells from growing

Besides killing beneficial bacteria in the gut, antibiotics stop new brain cells from growing, according to new research from the Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany.

The antibiotics that are strong enough to kill gut bacteria stop new cell growth in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that is responsible for memory.

We found prolonged antibiotic treatment might impact brain function,” says senior author Susanne Asu Wolf. “But probiotics and exercise can balance brain plasticity and should be considered as a real treatment option.”

The abstract summarized the following study methods and results:

Antibiotics, though remarkably useful, can also cause certain adverse effects. We detected that treatment of adult mice with antibiotics decreases hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention. Reconstitution with normal gut flora (SPF) did not completely reverse the deficits in neurogenesis unless the mice also had access to a running wheel or received probiotics. In parallel to an increase in neurogenesis and memory retention, both SPF-reconstituted mice that ran and mice supplemented with probiotics exhibited higher numbers of Ly6Chi monocytes in the brain than antibiotic-treated mice. Elimination of Ly6Chi monocytes by antibody depletion or the use of knockout mice resulted in decreased neurogenesis, whereas adoptive transfer of Ly6Chi monocytes rescued neurogenesis after antibiotic treatment. We propose that the rescue of neurogenesis and behavior deficits in antibiotic-treated mice by exercise and probiotics is partially mediated by Ly6Chi monocytes.

Luckily, the researchers also found that the harmful effects of antibiotics can be reversed, as the mice in the study that received probiotics after antibiotics regained memory. “The magnitude of the action of probiotics on Ly6Chi cells, neurogenesis, and cognition impressed me,” Wolf said.

The researchers hope that future studies will address whether probiotics will help in patients with psychiatric or neurodegenerative disorders. “We could measure the outcome in mood, psychiatric symptoms, microbiome composition and immune cell function before and after probiotic treatment,” says Wolf.

The study showing that antibiotics stop new brain cells from growing was published in the journal Cell Reports.

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1. “Mouse Study Finds Link between Gut Bacteria and Neurogenesis.” EurekAlert! Cell Press, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
2. “Ly6Chi Monocytes Provide a Link between Antibiotic-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis.” Cell Reports. Cell Reports, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016.

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