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Project

The Effect of Antibiotics in Early Life on Brain Function and Behaviour
 

Project ID
108189
Total Funding
CAD 546,152.00
IDRC Officer
Fabiano Santos
Project Status
Completed
End Date
Duration
36 months

Programs and partnerships

Foundations for Innovation

Lead institution(s)

Summary

The human gastrointestinal tract is home to 100 trillion microorganisms. Research has found that these microorganisms, known as gut microbiota, play an important role in the development and normal function of our immune and nervous systems.Read more

The human gastrointestinal tract is home to 100 trillion microorganisms. Research has found that these microorganisms, known as gut microbiota, play an important role in the development and normal function of our immune and nervous systems. This project will offer important insights into how antibiotics might disrupt gut microbiota and affect brain function in young children.

Brain chemistry and antibiotics

Recent evidence in animal models suggests that gut microbiota can influence brain chemistry, which can affect behaviour. However, we do not know how this occurs. We also do not know how the disruption of normal gut microbiota early in life from antibiotic use, for example, might influence brain development and potentially contribute to behavioural and/or mood disorders.

This project will seek to offer some answers. The research team will aim to:

-understand the mechanisms underpinning the microbiome-gut-brain axis and the potential contribution of gut microbiota disruption to neurodevelopmental and behavioural disorders

-determine the long-term impact of early life disruption of the gut microbiota on brain chemistry and behaviour related to anxiety and social interaction

-delineate immune mechanisms linking the altered microbiota to behavioural changes

-identify potentially novel components of the microbiota-gut-brain axis related to antibiotic effects on brain function and behaviour

-further develop the training environment and collaborative research among the partners

Understanding the gut-brain link

The successful completion of this project will provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the connection between gut bacteria and the brain. It will provide insight into the gut microbiota disruption's potential contribution to the development of mood and behavioural disorders. This knowledge may help researchers develop novel approaches to maintaining mental health.

Project leadership

The project lead is Paul Forsythe at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. His collaborators include Omry Koren, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and Javier Bravo and Marcela Julio, Pontificia Universidad Cato¿lica de Valparai¿so, Chile.

Project funding

This project is funded through the first research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Initiative. The Initiative is a collaboration between the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and Canada's International Development Research Centre.

Research outputs

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Article
Language:

English

Summary

There is increasing concern about potential long-term effects of antibiotics on children’s health. Epidemiological studies have revealed that early-life antibiotic exposure can increase the risk of developing immune and metabolic diseases, and rodent studies have shown that administration of high doses of antibiotics has long-term effects on brain neurochemistry and behaviour. Here we investigate whether low-dose penicillin in late pregnancy and early postnatal life induces long-term effects in the offspring of mice. We find that penicillin has lasting effects in both sexes on gut microbiota, increases cytokine expression in frontal cortex, modifies blood–brain barrier integrity and alters behaviour. The antibiotic-treated mice exhibit impaired anxiety-like and social behaviours, and display aggression. Concurrent supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 prevents some of these alterations. These results warrant further studies on the potential role of early-life antibiotic use in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, and the possible attenuation of these by beneficial bacteria.

Author(s)
Leclercq, Sophie
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About the partnership

Partnership(s)

Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program

Canada’s International Development Research Centre, in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), is supporting cutting-edge biomedical and global health research.