Supplementing the body with short chain fatty acids
can improve stroke recovery
, according to research in animal models recently published in JNeurosci
. Short chain fatty acid
supplementation may be a non-invasive addition to stroke
Post-stroke neuronal plasticity is altered by short-chain fatty acid treatment. Credit: Sadler et al., JNeurosci 2019
Short-chain fatty acids
) are fatty acids with fewer than six carbon atoms. Derived
from intestinal microbial fermentation of indigestible foods, SCFAs
are the main energy source of colonocytes (epithelial cell of the colon), making them crucial to gastrointestinal health as well.
are produced when dietary fiber is fermented in the colon. Acetate, propionate, and butyrate are the three most common SCFAs
and medium-chain fatty acids are primarily absorbed through the portal vein during lipid digestion,while long-chain fatty acids are packed into chylomicrons, enter lymphatic capillaries, then transfer to the blood at the subclavian vein.
have diverse physiological roles in body functions. They can affect the production of lipids, energy and vitamins. Butyrate is particularly important for colon health because it is the primary energy source for colonocytes. The liver can use acetate for energy.
A new study also shows how the gut microbiome
influences brain health, including how the brain recovers from stroke
. Short chain fatty acids
, a fermentation product from the bacteria in our guts, are a key component of gut health but their role in stroke recovery
has not been explored till now.
Dr Sadler et al. added short chain fatty acids
to the drinking water of mice for four weeks before inducing a stroke
. The mice that drank the fatty acid water experienced a better stroke recovery
compared to the control mice, including reduced motor impairment and increased spine growth on dendrites a crucial memory structure. Additionally, the short chain fatty acid
-supplemented mice expressed more genes related to microglia, the brain's immune cells. Microglia activity could be responsible for increasing dendritic spines and improving stroke
relationship indicates short chain fatty acids
may serve as messengers in the gut-brain connection by influencing how the brain responds to injury.
The research team is conducting further studies to show a correlation between supplementation with SCFAs
recovery so as to initiate human clinical trials as early as 2021, according to a spokesman who commented to Thailand Medical News
Reference : Rebecca Sadler et al, Short-chain fatty acids improve post-stroke recovery via immunological mechanisms, The Journal of Neuroscience (2019). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1359-19.2019