Interactions Between the Aging of the Gut Microbiome and Brain in the Context of Stroke Risk

The gut microbiome changes with age in ways that provoke greater chronic inflammation in the body, as well as reducing the production of beneficial metabolites, such as those that influence neurogenesis. When thinking about stroke resulting from the progression of atherosclerosis and hypertension, inflammation is an important factor, but there are other mechanisms that might link the aging of the gut microbiome and the aging of the vasculature in the brain. Some of these connections are discussed in the open access review paper noted here.

The microbiota-gut-brain-axis (MGBA) is a bidirectional communication network between gut microbes and their host. Many environmental and host-related factors affect the gut microbiota. Dysbiosis is defined as compositional and functional alterations of the gut microbiota that contribute to the pathogenesis, progression and treatment responses to disease. Dysbiosis occurs when perturbations of microbiota composition and function exceed the ability of microbiota and its host to restore a symbiotic state. Dysbiosis leads to dysfunctional signaling of the MGBA, which regulates the development and the function of the host's immune, metabolic, and nervous systems.

Dysbiosis-induced dysfunction of the MGBA is seen with aging and stroke, and is linked to the development of common stroke risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Changes in the gut microbiota are also seen in response to stroke, and may impair recovery after injury. In this review relevant MGBA components are introduced and summarized for a better understanding of age-related changes in MGBA signaling and its dysfunction after stroke. We will then focus on the relationship between the MGBA and aging, highlighting that all components of the MGBA undergo age-related alterations that can be influenced by or even driven by the gut microbiota.

In the final section, the current clinical and preclinical evidence for the role of MGBA signaling in the development of stroke risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and frailty are summarized, as well as microbiota changes with stroke in experimental and clinical populations. We conclude by describing the current understanding of microbiota-based therapies for stroke including the use of prebiotics/probiotics and supplementations with bacterial metabolites. Ongoing progress in this new frontier of biomedical sciences will lead to an improved understanding of the MGBA's impact on human health and disease.



It would be interesting to know the effect of statins on the microbiome. If per chance it shifts it towards a more aged state, then maybe the lipid lowering benefit is overcome by the negative effect from an altered microbiome?

Posted by: Matt at May 5th, 2022 9:32 AM
Comment Submission

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.