Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and CNRS have just published an article in Nature on the intestinal microbiota, its role in brain function and mood regulation. Pierre-Marie Lledo, head of Perception and Memory Unit at the Institut Pasteur (CNRS/Institut Pasteur) and co-author of the study explains: “Surprisingly, the simple transfer of the microbiota from an animal suffering from mood disorders to a healthy animal was sufficient to cause biochemical changes and confer depressive-type behaviour on the subject”.

Researchers have identified certain bacterial species that are significantly reduced in animals suffering from mood disorders. Then they demonstrated that oral treatment with the same bacteria restored normal levels of lipid derivatives, thereby reducing depressive-type behaviour. These bacteria could therefore be used as antidepressants. These treatments are known as “psychobiotics”.

Fondation FondaMental Suisse is seeking funds to finance a project on “autism and microbiota”, submitted by the CHUV teams associated with Henri Mondor & UPEC University Hospitals in France: its aim is the precise clinical and biological characterisation of sub-groups of people with autism could benefit from gastrointestinal treatments, in particular probiotics. The budget of CHF 336,000 will enable French and Swiss researchers to work together to obtain faster microbiota sequencing, bioinformatics and bio-statistical analyses.


Supporting research

Sources & illustration: Nature & Newswise