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Bioessays. 2011 Aug;33(8):588-91. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100042. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

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.

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  • 1Center for Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Diseases, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Manhasset, NY, USA. bdiamond@nshs.edu

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.

Copyright © 2011 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

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