Scientists have known for a while that the gut microbiome can actually influence the brain. Now, there’s evidence that this influence extends to protecting the brain against the effects of viral infections.
Scientists at University of Utah Health worked with a virus that causes symptoms in mice like those seen in human cases of multiple sclerosis. They worked with two groups of mice, one of animals with normal gut microbes and one of mice that were free of bacteria.
According to results published in the journal eLife, the microbe-free mice showed weak immune responses and weren’t able to eliminate the virus, developing worsening paralysis. Those in the normal group showed a greater ability to fight the virus’s effects.