Could a fecal transplant one day be the secret of eternal youth? Fecal transplants could one day be used as a therapy to restore cognitive function in the elderly – according to new research from the University of East Anglia, the University of Florence and the Quadram Institute.
A new study published shows how fecal transplants from older to younger mice altered their gut microbiome, which in turn impacted their spatial learning and memory. The research team hopes that reversing the procedure could one day see fecal transplantation used to combat cognitive decline among the elderly. Dr. David Vauzour, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Ageing is an inevitable process that starts immediately after birth and ultimately leads to physical health problems as well as a decline in psychological well-being and cognitive function.“ Research has shown that the aging process may be linked with age-related changes in our gut microbiota. Recently, the existence of two-way communication between the gut and the brain – known as the ‘gut-brain axis’ – has emerged as an important player in shaping aspects of behavior and cognitive function.
The research team performed fecal transplants from older adult mice to younger adult mice and then assessed the young adults for markers such as anxiety, exploratory behavior and memory. After the transplantation, the team found significant differences in the young mice’s microbial profiles. While the young adults showed no significant changes in markers of anxiety, explorative behavior or locomotor activity, they did show impaired spatial learning and memory as measured in a maze test. These changes were paralleled by alterations in the expression of proteins associated with synaptic plasticity and neurotransmission, and changes to cells in the hippocampus part of their brains – responsible for learning and memory.
Source: Science Daily