According to a new animal study using mice, Lactobacillus, a probiotic, could reverse symptoms of depression. A combination of molecular and computational techniques as well as behavioral techniques were used to test the role these gut microbioata may play in behaviors associated with depression, since these disorders may run in families and the microbiome may be a causative agent or a factor of this disease.
Researchers using a mouse model looked for a biological process, which occurs in living organisms, which may influence mood. Results of this study found a reduction in levels of Lactobacillus in mice under stress as well as increased levels of circulating Kynurenine levels, which is a form of inflammation that has been linked to depression and suicide risks.
By restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels improvements in abnormalities in behavior were seen. Researchers did stress however that the symptoms that they identified in the mice are “depressive-like” behaviors. It is hard to determine if the mice are actually experiencing depression since mice have no way of communicating their feelings. Researchers do feel confident that the findings from this study may open new opportunities in the treatment of depression and other conditions like anxiety.
The researchers plan to begin studying the effects of Lactobacillus in people with depression in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), because MS sufferers often experience depression.
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