Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Higher Brain Function
Title of the talk:
Microbiome- A key Regulator of Neurodevelopment & Behaviour.
Prof. Cryan’s research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and drug dependence. He is also interested in applying novel approaches to facilitate drug/siRNA delivery to the brain in vivo. Over the past number of years his group is also focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress and immune-related disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. There is a growing appreciation of the relationship between gut microbiota, and the host in maintaining homeostasis in health and predisposing to disease. Substantial advances have been made in linking alterations in microbiota to brain development and even behaviour and the concept of a microbiota-gut brain axis has emerged. Animal models have been essential in moving forward this frontier research area. His group has shown that the gut microbiota is essential for normal stress, antidepressant and anxiety responses. Moreover, microbiota is essential for both social cognition and visceral pain. At a neurobiological level microbiota is shown to affect a variety of brain processes from cortical myelination, amygdala spine density and adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Finally, Prof Cryan’s group is focused on critical time-windows early in life when the effects of microbiota on brain and behaviour appear to be more potent. Such data offer the enticing proposition that specific modulation of the enteric microbiota maybe a useful “psychobiotic”-based strategy for both stress-related and neurodevelopmental disorders ranging from depression to autism.