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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 124-129

Microbiota and memory: A symbiotic therapy to counter cognitive decline?

1 Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, College of Medicine, University of South Florida Morsani, Tampa, FL, USA
2 Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Faculty of Health Sciences, Anahuac University, Huixquilucan, Mexico

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Antonio Ibarra
Centro De Investigación En Ciencias De La Salud (CICSA), Facultad De Ciencias De La Salud, Universidad Anáhuac México, Huixquilucan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bc.bc_34_19

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The process of aging underlies many degenerative disorders that arise in the living body, including gradual neuronal loss of the hippocampus that often leads to decline in both memory and cognition. Recent evidence has shown a significant connection between gut microbiota and brain function, as butyrate production by microorganisms is believed to activate the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). To investigate whether modification of intestinal microbiota could impact cognitive decline in the aging brain, Romo-Araiza et al. conducted a study to test how probiotic and prebiotic supplementation impacted spatial and associative memory in middle-aged rats. Their results showed that rats supplemented with the symbiotic (both probiotic and prebiotic) treatment performed significantly better than other groups in the spatial memory test, though not in that of associative memory. Their data also reported that this improvement correlated with increased levels of BDNF, decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and better electrophysiological outcomes in the hippocampi of the symbiotic group. Thus, the results indicated that the progression of cognitive impairment is indeed affected by changes in microbiota induced by probiotics and prebiotics. Potential future applications of these findings center around combatting neurodegeneration and inflammation associated not only with aging but also with the damaging posttraumatic effects of ischemic stroke.

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