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Gut Bacteria Promotes Spinal Cord Injury Healing

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Scientists from the Ohio State University have discovered that spinal cord damage alters the kind of gut bacteria which are dwelling within the intestines and that these changes can exacerbate the extent of neurological harm and impair healing of function. The study, Gut dysbiosis impairs recovery after spinal cord injury by Kristina A. Kigerl et al which was published in the October 2016 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that counteracting these alterations with probiotics would aid sufferers’ restoration from spinal cord injuries.

Gut Bacteria

The trillions of bacteria that are living within the gastrointestinal tract are often called the gut microbiome. Disruption of this microbial community, or dysbiosis, occurs when non-harmful intestinal bacteria are depleted or overwhelmed by harmful inflammatory bacteria. Autoimmune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis were linked to dysbiosis, and it has been recently been implicated within the onset or development of neurological disorders, including autism, pain, depression, anxiousness, and stroke.

Spinal cord accidents have secondary effects or comorbidities, including loss of bowel movement control, which are more likely to cause dysbiosis. The authors remarked that if any changes in the gut microbiome occur, they would, in turn, have an effect on recuperation after spinal cord damage.

Spinal Cord Injury and Gut Microbiome

The researchers found out that spinal cord injury drastically altered the gut microbiome of mice, inducing the migration of intestinal bacteria into other tissues of the body and the activation of proinflammatory immune cells related to the intestines.

Mice that showed the most important changes in their intestinal microorganisms tended to recuperate poorly from their accidents. Indeed, when mice had been pre-treated with antibiotics to disrupt their gut microbiomes earlier than spinal cord injury, they showed higher phases of spinal inflammation and decreased healing. In contrast, when injured mice were given daily doses of probiotics to restore the phases of healthful intestinal microorganisms, they had much less spinal damage and regained more hindlimb action.

The probiotics, containing huge numbers of lactic acid-producing microorganisms, activated a sort of intestine-associated immune cells known as regulatory T cells that may suppress inflammation. These cells might prevent further injury to the spinal cord after harm. Additionally, the probiotic microorganism may speed up spinal cord healing via secreting molecules that enhance neuronal progress and function. According to the researchers, Either or both of these mechanisms could explain how post-injury disruption of the gut microbiome contributes to the pathology of spinal cord injuries and how probiotics block or reverse these effects

They further added, Our data highlight a previously unappreciated role for the gut-central nervous system-immune axis in regulating recovery after spinal cord injury. No longer should ‘spinal-centric’ repair approaches dominate research or standards of clinical care for affected individuals.