An unexplored brain-gut microbiota axis in stroke

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Microbiota research, in particular that of the gut, has recently gained much attention in medical research owing to technological advances in metagenomics and metabolomics. Despite this, much of the research direction has focused on long-term or chronic effects of microbiota manipulation on health and disease. In this addendum, we reflect on our recent publication that reported findings addressing a rather unconventional hypothesis. Bacterial pneumonia is highly prevalent and is one of the leading contributors to stroke morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, microbiological cultures of samples taken from stroke patient with a suspected case of pneumonia often return with a negative result. Therefore, we proposed that post-stroke infection may be due to the presence of anaerobic bacteria, possibly those originated from the host gut microbiota. Supporting this, we showed that stroke promotes intestinal barrier breakdown and robust microbiota changes, and the subsequent translocation of selective bacterial strain from the host gut microbiota to peripheral tissues (i.e. lung) induces post-stroke infections. Our findings were further supported by various elegant studies published in the past 12 months. Here, we discuss and provide an overview of our key findings, supporting studies, and the implications for future advances in stroke research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-606
Number of pages6
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • bacterial translocation
  • gut microbiota
  • infection
  • Stroke

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