Life Science, S&F 2: Body Systems (HS), S&F 3: Body Systems (MS), Structure and Function

How the Microbiome Can Change Brain Development

Early Disruption of the Microbiome Leading to Decreased Antioxidant Capacity and Epigenetic Changes: Implications for the Rise in Autism

SUMMARY: This is a rather long, but very interesting, article about all the ways gut microbiome can be disrupted. The products of the the gut microbiome can affect brain development, but the article also focuses on how gut microbiome is acquired by a newborn baby. Vaginal births give the baby more Lactobacillus and thus, normal intestinal microbiome. C-section births populate the baby’s gut with more skin bacteria such as Staphylococcus and this can result in abnormal gut microbe population. After birth, breastfeeding versus using formula gives the baby either more Bifidobacterium or Enterobacteriaceae respectively. The foods that the baby consumes during weaning also plays a role in the development of his/her adult gut bacteria population. Antibiotic use for babies can also alter their gut bacteria, sometimes permanently. The last two sections talk about how inflammation can make the Blood-Brain-Barrier more permeable and how microbes can affect mitochondrial function.

LESSON COMMENTS: Each section of this article can be read independently so that it’s easier for students to grasp all of the concepts. This article ties together cellular respiration, bacteria growth, gastrointestinal system, immune system, nervous system, and epigenetics/gene expression. I would use sections of this article after teaching students about one or some of these systems and asking them to use explain the excerpt in layman’s term.

Eshraghi, R. S., Deth, R. C., Mittal, R., Aranke, M., Kay, S. S., Moshiree, B., & Eshraghi, A. A. (2018). Early Disruption of the Microbiome Leading to Decreased Antioxidant Capacity and Epigenetic Changes: Implications for the Rise in Autism. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 12, 256. doi:10.3389/fncel.2018.00256