12 January - 20 June 2016

The effects of prebiotics on brain chemistry

12 Feb 14

A pre-clinical rat study, funded by the Biotechnology Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) and published in the journal Neurochemistry International has demonstrated the effect of prebiotics on brain chemistry.  The study by the prebiotic manufacturer Clasado and scientists from the University of Oxford and Reading University reports that previous research has shown a link between enteric microbiota and brain function.  Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli strains in the large intestine have been found to inhibit anxiety and aid memory in both rodents and humans.  Intakes of live cultures (probiotics) are reported by Burnet et al. to alter the expression of genes integral to neurodevelopment and complex behaviour in rodents.  Bifidobacteria consumed by rats has been found to increase hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).  BDNF is an important molecule involved in the development and maintenance of neural cells. The aims of this current study were to investigate if prebiotic administration to rats altered brain levels of BDNF, examine whether central N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs – critical for brain development, learning and memory) and associated amino acids were altered by prebiotics and provide evidence for neuroactive blood-borne molecules that may affect central BDNF levels after prebiotic feeding.  Burnet et al. fed rats for five weeks either 3g/kg fructo-oliogsaccaharide (FOS) or 4g/kg galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotics (GOS).  These prebiotics are soluble fibres which are digested by, and increase the proportion of, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in the gut.  The scientists extracted Bifidobacteria spp. Genes in DNA from faecal pellets.   After the last daily oral dose of the prebiotics, the animals were sacrificed and the brain and blood examined.  The FOS fed animals had a greater number of Bifidobacteria in faecal pellets compared to the controls and the number of Bifidobacteria in the GOS fed rats was significantly greater than both controls and FOS-fed rats.   GOS intake increased NR1 and NR2A subunits in the hippocampus and NR1 subunits and D-serine in the frontal cortex.   FOS increased the levels of NR1 in the hippocampus only.  BDNF increased in the brain after repeated ingestion of prebiotic compared with the controls.  Also NMDAR also increased in the rat brain after just two weeks of daily prebiotic feeding.  The scientists report that prebiotics, like probiotics, increase brain BDNF expression, possibly through the involvement of gut hormones, and indicate that their finding warrants further investigation.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry