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It takes guts to grow a brain

Increasing evidence of the important role of the intestinal microflora in neuro- and immune-modulatory functions during development and adulthood

Authors

  • Betty Diamond,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, NY, USA
    • Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, NY, USA.
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  • Patricio T. Huerta,

    1. Laboratory of Immune and Neural Networks, Center for Biomedical Science, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, NY, USA
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  • Kevin Tracey,

    1. Center for Biomedical Science, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, NY, USA
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  • Bruce T. Volpe

    1. Department of Neurology & Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Burke Medical Research Institute, White Plains, NY, USA
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Abstract

A new study entitled “Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior”, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, requires that we reconsider the notion that the brain is an immune-privileged site. The authors demonstrate that intestinal microbiota must be present within a set time-frame for normal synaptogenesis to occur in the brain. In the absence of intestinal microbiota, histopathological and behavioral abnormalities arise. These observations necessitate a new look at the many interconnections of the immune system and the brain, suggesting new frontiers for research and new therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental diseases.

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