The gut microbiome (GMB) is comprised of trillions of microorganisms that reside in the intestinal tract. Evidence suggests that the bacterial composition of the GMB is altered in Alzheimer’s disease patients compared to healthy controls (some species increase in abundance while others decrease); a finding that has also been observed in some mouse models of AD. Recent studies suggest that changes in the gut microbiome may directly contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Mechanisms that may mediate this link are still mostly unknown. Early research is beginning to identify potential routes by which changes in the gut can impact the brain and pathologies related to Alzheimer’s disease such as amyloid plaque deposits. Some areas of focus include the disruption of the entire ecosystem or a role for specific resident microbes, peripheral inflammation that impacts the brain through interactions with the vasculature or the brain’s resident innate immune cells (glia), and even the direct spread of microbes from the gut to the brain.
The projects of this consortium represent a multi-faceted approach to investigating the mechanisms by which the microbiome impacts AD progression. The projects of this consortium will increase the field’s understanding of this important emerging area and its relevance to developing novel therapeutics for people who might develop or who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

MICROBIOME CONSORTIUM RESEARCHERS

Dr. Robert Vassar, Northwestern University, Chair of the Consortium

Dr. David Holtzman, Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis

Dr. Laura Cox, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, University of Southern California

Dr. Sangram Sisodia, University of Chicago