According to researchers from the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto,an infection in the intestines may lead to memory loss in conditions of psychological stress.
Researchers injected mice with a non-invasive pathogen, Citrobacter Rodentium, and subjected some mice to stress. They monitored mice behavior, and secondarily looked at treatment with probiotics to address any behavioral changes on a daily basis.
There were no behavioral abnormalities seen at either the height of infection (10 days) or following bacterial clearance (30 days). Yet, infected mice exposed to acute stress showed memory dysfunction (10 days and 30 days after infection). Memory dysfunction was prevented by daily treatment of infected mice with probiotics.
The researchers noted memory was impaired in germ-free mice, with or without exposure to stress, in contrast to conventionally reared, control Swiss-Webster mice with an intact intestinal microbiota.
They concluded intestinal microbiota influences the ability to form memory, and memory dysfunction is tied to stress in infected mice, while germ-free mice showed altered memory at baseline.
22 March 2011