Our intestines are filled with a vast community of gut bacteria and other microbes known as the "microbiome". The microbiome changes significantly over the course of our lifetime and may increase the severity of brain damage after a stroke, according to a preliminary study in mice presented at the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.
Mice that were treated with gut bacteria from older mice after stroke had impaired recovery compared to mice who received "youthful" gut bacteria from young mice. Furthermore, mice who received gut bacteria from older mice had higher levels of γδ T cells in the gut after stroke, immune cells that have been previously shown to worsen stroke severity.
A deeper understanding of the role of gut bacteria in stroke recovery may help identify new treatments for stroke patients, researchers said.
Javiera B. Bravo-Alegria, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas.