Bacteria found in the soil activated a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin
Treatment of mice with a ‘friendly’ bacteria, normally found in the soil, altered their behavior in a way similar to that produced by antidepressant drugs, reports research published in the latest issue of Neuroscience.
These findings, identified by researchers at the University of Bristol and colleagues at University College London, aid the understanding of why an imbalance in the immune system leaves some individuals vulnerable to mood disorders like depression.
Dr Chris Lowry, lead author on the paper from Bristol University, said: “These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt.”