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Johns Hopkins MedicineNew Evidence: Immune System Cells in the Gut Linked to Stress-Induced Depression

Unraveling Gut-Brain Connection: Gamma Delta T Cells’ Influence on Mental Health

Unveiling a novel connection between the gut and the brain, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have discovered an intestinal immune cell that may influence the gut microbiome and, in turn, potentially affect brain functions related to stress-induced disorders such as depression.

Key Points

  • The study was led by Atsushi Kamiya, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
  • The research team identified a specific intestinal immune cell, known as gamma delta T cells, that impacts the gut microbiome.
  • This impact on the gut microbiome may affect brain functions linked to stress-induced disorders such as depression.
  • The team also highlighted the importance of a protein receptor known as dectin-1, found on the surface of immune cells.
  • Dectin-1 may be involved in microbiome alteration and immune-inflammatory responses in the colon of mice.
  • The team designed experiments to focus on understanding stress-induced behaviors produced by an imbalance in the gut microbiota.
  • The researchers simulated potential stress-inducing environments that could mimic similar responses in human environments.
  • Genetic analysis of fecal samples showed that intestinal organisms were less diverse in stress-susceptible mice than in stress-resilient mice.

According to a study published in Nature Communications, there are more than 100 trillion bacteria in the human gut, which is ten times more than the total number of human cells in the body.

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