BenakisLab - Microbiome–gut–brain interactions
The gut microbiome has been reproducibly demonstrated to play a pivotal role in brain health and brain disease. Recent experimental and clinical studies suggest that stroke outcome is substantially impacted by the composition of the gut microbiome, which acts as a key modulator of immunity and metabolism (Benakis et al., Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2020; Benakis et al., Nat. Med. 2016). The research focus of our lab is to understand the bidirectional link between the gut microbiome and the brain after stroke. This research paradigm will enable the development of novel therapeutic strategies to improve recovery in stroke patients.
Gut-to-brain communication may occur via the production of metabolites from gut-resident bacteria. Indeed, there is accumulating evidence showing that metabolites derived from the microbiome influence brain diseases by regulating intestinal immune-cell function. The key objective of our research group is to investigate whether metabolites produced by gut bacteria can influence stroke-induced neuroinflammation, as well as post-stroke comorbidities such as chronic neuroinflammation, cognitive decline, depression, and pain.
To reach this goal, we use a combination of metabolomics, metagenomics, flow cytometry analysis, single-cell sorting, and in-vitro immune cell culture, as well as mouse models (photo-convertible transgenic mice, humanized-fecal microbiota transplantation mice, probiotics/postbiotics) to elucidate the mechanisms involved in microbiome-gut-brain interactions.
Phone: +49 89 4400 46205
Image credit: Dr. Stefan Roth
Benakis, Corinne, Dr. | PI
Sadler, Rebecca, Dr. | Postdoc
Delgado Jimenez, Rosa | PhD student
Fink, Diana | Master student
Weiler, Monica, Dr. | Lab technician
Sadler R, Cramer JV, Heindl S, Kostidis S, Betz D, Zuurbier KR, Northoff BH, Heijink M, Goldberg MP, Plautz EJ, Roth S, Malik R, Dichgans M, Holdt LM, Benakis C, Giera M, Stowe AM, Liesz A. Short-Chain Fatty Acids Improve Poststroke Recovery via Immunological Mechanisms. J. Neurosci. 2019, 40: 1162-1173.
Llovera G, Benakis C, Enzmann G, Cai R, Arzberger T, Ghasemigharagoz A, Mao X, Malik R, Lazarevic I, Liebscher S, Ertürk A, Meissner L, Vivien D, Haffner C, Plesnila N, Montaner J, Engelhardt B and Liesz A. The choroid plexus is a key cerebral invasion route for T cells after stroke. Acta Neuropathol. 2017, 134: 1-18.