Elsevier Logo Stress is known to have a drastic impact on the health of an individual. Well, it now appears to affect bacteria in the gut and immune response as well. In a major breakthrough, researchers found that stress can alter the balance of bacteria that naturally live in the gut and affect immune function. It was mentioned that stress can supposedly deregulate immune response.

Exposure to stress apparently paves way for changes in composition, diversity and number of gut microorganisms. The bacterial communities in the intestine may become less diverse and lead to a greater number of potentially harmful bacteria, such as clostridium. These changes possibly have major implications for physiological function. In the current research, scientists reduced the number of bacteria in the intestines with the help of antibiotics. It then appeared that some of the effects of stress on the immune system can be prevented.

Hence, stress not only modifies the bacteria levels in the gut, but also these alterations can affect immunity. Michael Bailey who led the research and colleagues presume that the gut microorganisms play an important role in innate immunological stress responses. The dynamic interactions between multiple physiological systems may include the intestinal microbiota and the immune system.

The research is published in this month issue of the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.