It is also the first to show that a specific probiotic may be capable of reversing autism-like behaviors in mice.
The commentary authors, who also included CU-Boulder Research Associate Dorota Porazinska and doctoral student Sophie Weiss, have written that the broader potential of this research is obviously an analogous probiotic that could treat subsets of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
The researchers used a technique called maternal immune activation in pregnant mice to induce autism-like behavior and neurology in their offspring.
The researchers found that the gut microbial community of the offspring differed markedly compared with a control group of mice. When the mice with autism-like symptoms were fed Bacteriodes fragilis, a microbe known to bolster the immune system, the aberrant behaviors were reduced.
The study has been published in the current issue of the journal Cell.