Researchers have previously found that mice whose mothers suffered from infection or inflammation during pregnancy are at a greater risk for developing behaviors similar to those seen in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now, researchers have linked those neurodevelopmental symptoms in the mice to changes in the bacteria living in the animals’ guts.
Also, when researchers treated those animals with bacteria found in the healthy gut, a number of behavioral abnormalities including anxiety-like behavior went away. The findings link at least some symptoms of ASD to the gut and suggest that probiotics might have a therapeutic role in such cases.
"Taken together, these findings support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in a mouse model of neurodevelopmental disorders and identify a potential probiotic therapy for gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms in human disorders, including autism,” Elaine Hsiao from the California Institute of Technology, and colleagues were quoted as saying.