The gut microbiome appears to play an important role in stimulating neurodevelopment, and disruptions to gut microbiota cause abnormal stress responses and impaired social behaviour in animal studies. Studies over the past decade have shown that the gut microbiota and the central nervous system mature rapidly during early life, making this a key time for gut/brain interactions.
The Barwon Infant Study has reported a strong negative association between the abundance of Prevotella in the infant gut microbiota at 12 months and subsequent behavioural outcomes in 2 year old children. Specifically, increased levels of the bacterial species, P. copri, are associated with lower levels of behavioural problems, independent of confounding variables, including maternal mental health (1).
Prevatex has also in-licensed intellectual property around this discovery, and will leverage its experience in developing probiotics to progress the development of an appropriate formulation of P. copri for infants.
- Gut microbiota composition during infancy and subsequent behavioural outcomes. Loughman A, Ponsonby AL, O’Hely et al, EBioMedicine. In press.