Study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago has demonstrated that use of antibiotics over a long period of time could reduce inflammation of the brain that causes Alzheimer’s and slow down progression of the disease but only among males. Existence of Amyloid plaques in the brain is specific to Alzheimer’s and it forms when a specific protein that exists within brain’s neurons starts building up and forms clumps. These clumps or amyloid plaques disrupt functions of the brain cells and cause visible symptoms of Alzheimer’s to appear. The research was led by Director of Centre for Molecular Neurobiology at Chicago University Sangram S. Sisodia.
The team knew that people with this disease displayed changes in their gut bacteria and had also shown that this bacteria when given to rodents showed changes in their symptoms that were similar to Alzheimer’s. Their research showed that the changes in the microbiome led to slowdown in development of amyloid plague in mice that were male but did not affect females in similar manner. The researchers carried out a detailed study on an Alzheimer’s mouse model called APPPSI-21 and used a combination of antibiotics to examine effect of it on amyloid plaques and microglia activation in their brains.
Prof Sisodia’s team discovered that use of antibiotics over a long period of time affected microbiome of male and female mice in a varied manner. In fact excess consumption of antibiotics led to minimization in growth of amyloid plagues which converted the microglia into a state that did not disturb brain functioning. In fact the brain remained as normal as in a healthy individual but this situation was restricted only to male mice. In females changes in gut microbiome affects their immune system and increased production of factors may boost activation of microglia but that does not occur in male mice.