Pre-clinical study demonstrates positive effects of advanced prebiotic on neuro-inflammation, anxiety

Clasado Biosciences Limited, the producers and suppliers of the second generation prebiotic Bimuno(R) (B-GOS), a unique trans-galactooligosaccharide, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, today announce the results of their latest pre-clinical study demonstrating a major role of the unique carbohydrate complex Bimuno against neuro-inflammation and anxiety.

This study has been published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity and is entitled “Prebiotic administration normalizes lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced anxiety and cortical 5-HT2A receptor and IL-1 beta levels in male mice”.

It is the first study to demonstrate that a prebiotic can have a modulatory role in neuro-immuno processes as well as reversing anxiety induced by inflammation. It also shows that the beneficial effects of Bimuno on brain health and emotions are also exerted via a combination of the immune system and a key receptor in the brain, a serotonin receptor. This provides further evidence of the link between the immune and central nervous systems (CNS) in the development of anxiety and other stress related disorders. Previously, probiotics have demonstrated positive effects on the CNS, behaviour and the immune system, but these effects had never been demonstrated with a prebiotic within a single study.  

The agent promoting acute inflammation (LPS) in mice induced, as expected, sickness behaviour with lower locomotor activity within the first 6 hours compared to the control group. Acute inflammation also induced anxiety 24 hours later, paralleled by significant increases in the brain, in pro-inflammatory cytokines and in a serotonin receptor. These receptors play a key role in the brain-gut axis, brain development and neuro-psychiatric disorders. Bimuno reduced post-inflammation anxiety 24 hours post-LPS injection while the brain inflammation observed in the control group was normalised in the Bimuno group. The effects of Bimuno were mediated by an action on the immune system and brain chemistry, via a reduction in the key pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 beta release and by an impact on the serotonin receptor 5HT2A.

By linking behavioural and molecular approaches, this study provides strong new insights into the mechanism of action by which Bimuno works, namely through the immune system and through its effect on brain chemistry.  

As an increasing number of brain disorders are related to alterations in the immune system, such as depression, schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease, this study contributes to the growing body of evidence that will open new perspectives in treating disorders relating to immune dysfunction, emotional distress, neuropsychiatric conditions, and cognitive decline. These findings open up the possibility of further research in both animals and humans, in a wide range of neuropsychiatric (or brain) disorders, including stress and depression, cognitive decline, brain ageing and neurodegenerative disorders.

The study is the latest in a long-term programme of clinical and pre-clinical research undertaken by Clasado in conjunction with internationally renowned partners including departments at the University of Oxford and Reading University. The study builds on research, published in 2014, including a clinical trial demonstrating Bimuno’s ability to reduce negative bias related to anxiety and cortisol levels (Schmidt et al., 2015), and pre-clinical research providing the latest evidence that certain types of prebiotics can affect the biochemistry of the brain (Savignac et al., 2013). The results of the previous studies showed that Bimuno may play an important role in brain health and chemistry, emotional management, and neuro-psychiatric disorders via an action on the gut and the intestinal microbiota, and on stress hormones.

“This latest research by Clasado and the University of Oxford further increases our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Bimuno’s potential impact on emotional and brain health.  We are hopeful that this research could lead to viable alternatives to existing pharmaceutical treatments targeted towards brain and psychological disorders,” said Graham Waters, CEO, Clasado. “Mental health problems affect a significant proportion of people in the western world. Indeed, depression and anxiety account for 40% of reported disabilities worldwide. 25% of people in the western world will experience a mental health problem at some point during a 12 month period and anxiety is the most common mental illness, affecting approximately one in six people in the US and UK.”

“This study has provided additional valuable insights into the complex interactions between the gut microbiota, brain, immune and central nervous systems,” said Dr Phil Burnet, head researcher, University Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. “The results have provided the basis for more studies on Bimuno as a much-needed further research into a variety of conditions.”

“Many neuropsychiatric disorders have underserved needs, still lacking satisfactory treatments. In addition, the few available are often accompanied by severe negative side-effects,” said Dr Helene Savignac, a former post-doctoral researcher in Dr Burnet’s lab, first author of the study and now brain research manager, Clasado. “Therefore new studies and a holistic view on treatments are critical, including investigating the role of the enteric microbiota on brain diseases and exploring whether products acting in the intestines, such as Bimuno, can have a broader range of action than previously thought. The current findings suggest that Bimuno might have positive effects in other brain disorders where inflammation occurs and thus warrants future studies.”


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