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Impact of altered microbiota on brain development in mice: behavioral aspects

Grant number: 17/03063-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 26, 2017
Effective date (End): August 25, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Principal researcher:Silvia Honda Takada
Grantee:Talitha Amanda Sanches Bretherick
Supervisor abroad: Alexander Drobyshevsky
Home Institution: Centro de Matemática, Computação e Cognição (CMCC). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Research place: NorthShore University HealthSystem, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/19699-0 - Efeitos da administração intrahipocampal de 2-APB na memória espacial e na ansiedade de ratos submetidos à anóxia neonatal, BP.IC


Preterm infants are at high risk for later cognitive and behavioral deficits. Microbial community in infant guts, or microbiota, is acquired from the environment at birth and interacts to the maturing immune system. Perturbing initial colonization and microbiota development can affect brain development and post risk of developing neurological disorders later in life. Accumulating evidence and preliminary studies at the University of Chicago have suggested an association between gut microbiota and brain function. The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of microbiota on early brain development and behaviors. We will use a novel mouse model. Human fecal samples will be obtained from preterm infants with normal or decreased weight gain at the University of Chicago neonatal intensive care unit and transplanted into germ-free pregnant mice. Age-matched germ free pups (with absence of microbiota) and pups treated with fecal transplants from human infants will be compared. Two time points in development will be investigated: pre-weaned mouse pups at two weeks of age and post-weaned pups at four weeks of age. To evaluate effect of different microbiota on brain development, we will use quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and histopathology to assess structural changes, myelination, axonal, and synaptic development. Open field, elevated maze test will be used to test social behavior and anxiety. Morris water maze for memory test and fear conditioning will be used to assess learning and memory. By carrying out these experiments, these studies will investigate how developmentally normal and altered microbiota might affect brain development and increase or reduce to reduce the risk of developing neurological diseases such as anxiety and depression and affect cognitive functions. (AU)

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