Rochellys Diaz Heijtz It seems that a bacteria present in the gut plays a crucial role during brain development. A team of experts from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore asserts that gut bacteria can influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior. It was suggested that gut microorganisms can affect the brain and alter behavior in later life.

At the time of the research, behavior and gene expression was compared in two groups of mice. While one group was supposedly raised with normal microorganisms, others did not have microorganisms or were germ-free. Adult germ-free mice possibly registered different behavior from mice with normal microbiota. It can thus be assumed that gut bacteria has a remarkable impact on brain development in mammals. Scientists observed that the adult germ-free mice were more active and opted for more ‘risky’ behavior than those raised with normal microorganisms.

On exposing normal microorganisms very early in life, the germ-free mice as adults apparently developed the behavioral characteristics of those exposed to microorganisms from birth. On the other hand, colonizing adult germ-free mice with bacteria probably failed to influence their behavior. Dr. Rochellys Diaz Heijtz and colleagues believe that there is a critical period early in life when gut microorganisms affect the brain and change the behavior in later life. Colonizing bacteria may be controlled by signal substances like serotonin and dopamine.

The research is published in the scientific journal PNAS.