Medizinische Universität Graz
Forschungseinheit für Translationale Neurogastroenterologie
Institut für Experimentelle und Klinische Pharmakologie
+43 (0)316 380 - 4500
Scientific Advisory Board
Work in the Research Unit of Translational Neurogastroenterology focusses on the interplay between gut microbiota, gut hormones, enteric, primary afferent and autonomic neurons, circulating microbial metabolites, metabolic signals, cytokines as well as cerebral neurons and microglial cells in shaping the bidirectional gut–brain axis. The past years have witnessed important progress in these complex relationships, as the role of the gut microbiota in regulating not only the digestive, metabolic and immune system but also the central nervous system was unveiled. These advances have a significant impact on the pathophysiological underpinnings of gastroenterological, metabolic, immune and neuropsychiatric disorders and need be integrated in the pertinent treatment strategies.
The current research efforts address specific communication pathways between the gut microbiota and brain, in particular microbial stimulants of pattern recognition receptors, microbial metabolites affecting other cellular systems, gut hormones under the influence of the gut microbiota, immune mediators (cytokines), metabolic signals (e.g. leptin) and neuropeptides relevant to brain function and mental health. The impact of diet- and antibiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiome on brain function and behaviour is being analysed with microbiomic, metagenomic and metabolomic techniques, gene knockout as well as mRNA and protein expression studies, and behavioural phenotyping. There is emerging evidence that the neuropeptide Y system may play an important role in the depression and cognitive impairment that arise from microbial stimulants of pattern recognition receptors.