In other studies, the team from the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia found that microbes from older mice likely caused brain inflammation in younger recipients and depleted a key protein needed for vision.
“This groundbreaking study provides compelling evidence for the direct involvement of gut microbes in aging, says Professor Simon Carding, of UEA’s Norwich Medical School and Head of the Gut Microbes and Health Research Program at the Quadram Institute.
“Functional decline in brain function and vision and offers a potential solution in the form of gut microbe replacement therapy.”
Integrity of the intestinal mucosa
The study, published in the journal Microbiota, found that the microbiota of former donors led to a loss of integrity of the intestinal mucosa.
This allowed bacterial products to enter the circulation, which triggered the immune system and inflammation of the brain and eyes.
In the eye, the team also found that certain proteins linked to retinal degeneration were elevated in young mice receiving FMT from former donors.
In aged mice, these changes in the gut, eyes and brain could be reversed by transplanting gut microbiota from young mice.
Food and gut manipulation
“We were excited to discover that by modifying the gut microbiota of older adults, we could rescue indicators of age-associated decline commonly seen in degenerative eye and brain conditions,”adds the study’s lead author, Dr. Aimee Parker of the Quadram Institute.
“Our results provide more evidence of important links between microbes in the gut and healthy aging of body tissues and organs.
“We hope our findings will ultimately contribute to understanding how we can manipulate our diet and gut bacteria to maximize good health later in life.”
Published online: DOI: 10.1186/s40168-022-01243-w
“Transfer of fecal microbiota between young and old mice reverses aging characteristics of the gut, eyes, and brain.”
Authors: Aimée Parker et al.