A Caltech-led team of researchers has discovered that a small-molecule metabolite, produced by bacteria that reside in the mouse gut, can travel to the brain and alter the function of brain cells, leading to increased anxiety in mice. The work helps uncover a molecular explanation for recent observations that gut microbiome changes are associated with complex emotional behaviors.
The research was conducted primarily in the laboratory of Sarkis Mazmanian, Luis B. and Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology and affiliated faculty member with the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech. A paper describing the study appears on February 14 in the journal Nature.
Photo credit: Caltech