Dr. Barb Bendlin coauthors a study linking gut inflammation with aging and Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Barb Bendlin

A new study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, and co-authored by Barbara Bendlin, PhD, MA, professor, Geriatrics and Gerontology, suggests higher levels of gut inflammation may be tied to age-related declines in brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study showed that levels of calprotectin, an inflammatory marker, increased in the volunteer study participants’ stool samples, along with the amount of amyloid plaque accumulating in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We showed [that] people with Alzheimer’s disease have more gut inflammation, and among people with Alzheimer’s, when we looked at brain imaging, those with higher gut inflammation had higher levels of amyloid plaque accumulation in their brains,” says Dr. Bendlin.

In addition, levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid rose and test scores of the volunteers’ verbal memory function dropped.

Calprotectin levels in this study and previous studies have been found to rise with older age. One theory is that gut inflammation is caused by changes in the microbiome that occur as people age and this inflammation can further contribute to neurodegenerative diseases—although additional research in this area is necessary.

Read the full story from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Banner: Barb Bendlin, PhD, MA, professor, Geriatrics and Gerontology. Credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine.