May 16 (UPI) -- Altering the development of a certain gut bacteria may curb the development of Alzheimer's disease, a study says.
A long-term antibiotic treatment limited the growth of amyloid plaques in the brain by decreasing inflammation in the gut microbiome of male mice, according to research published Thursday in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Build up of those plaques is linked to Alzheimer's disease in humans.
"Recent evidence suggests that intestinal bacteria could play a major role in various neurological conditions including autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease," Sangram S. Sisodia, a researcher at The University of Chicago and study author, said in a news release.
Alzheimer's disease develops when both amyloid plaques accumulate and immune cells known as microglia activate. While the activation of the cells can get rid of amyloid, it can also speed up the effects of Alzheimer's, leading to neuroinflammation.
The researchers decided to treat mice with an Alzheimer's model called APPS1-21 with a cocktail of antibiotics. The antibiotic regimen did reduce the amyloid build up and the microglia activation in male mice, although it didn't have any effect on female mice.
This new study contributed to prior research from Sisodia and his colleagues about the role of antibiotics in slowing down amyloid plaques. Now, the research team wants to investigate more about the gender-specific effect of antibiotic therapy in mice.
"Our study shows that antibiotic-mediated perturbations of the gut microbiome have selective, sex-specific influences on amyloid plaque formation and microglial activity in the brain," Sisodia said. "We now want to investigate whether these outcomes can be attributed to changes in any particular type of bacteria."