Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Medicinal Microbes
28 November 2014

Medicinal Microbes

The key to improving mental wellbeing may lie in simple probiotic therapies – healthy gut, healthy mind. Recent studies indicate that certain gut bacteria can affect behavioural conditions in mice, alleviating depression and autism-like symptoms. For instance, mice with low levels of the gut microbe Bacteroides fragilis (pictured) showed greater levels of stress, antisocial tendencies and had gastrointestinal symptoms associated with autism. Feeding these mice B. fragilis treated the symptoms. Gut microbe variety was also shown to have an effect on mental health, with higher anxiety and stress levels seen in mice with fewer bacterial types. These symptoms were significantly improved when a more varied microbe community – from mice of the same genetic strain – was transplanted. While it is not yet clear whether these results will translate to humans, studies of this type are encouraging more researchers to consider a microbial approach to mental health.

Written by Helen Thomas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.