Role of neurotransmitters from gut microbiota in brain function
Humans are over 99 % genetically identical. One alternative source of individual differences is the resident bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which are 40–90 % distinct between different individuals. Gut bacteria produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin, molecules that function as neurotransmitters in the human brain. However, whether their production in the gut impacts behaviour and brain function in any way remains a mystery. The EU-funded GutBrainGABA project addresses this lack of knowledge focusing on the biochemistry of GABA-producing gut microbiota and their function. The project will answer a fundamental question about GABA production by gut bacteria, its modulation by probiotics and any impact it might have on GABA levels in the brain. This proposal involves approaches from psychology, neuroscience and gut microbiology to shed light on individual differences in human behaviour and brain function.
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