io9 discusses the recent discovery of a new link connecting brain function to the gut microbiome and immune system in humans that may have significance for study of a variety of physical and psychological conditions.
“One major problem for the field, though, has been the lack of a physical connection between the brain and the body that could help explain the mystery behind these diseases,” reports io9. “But last week, scientists at the University of Virginia stumbled across such a bridge: a network of lymphatic vessels that appears to directly link the brain with the immune system.”
“Outside experts say it’s a big discovery,” io9 continues. “Caltech biologist Elaine Hsiao — who studies the interaction between gut microbes, the immune system, and the brain, but was unaffiliated with the study — told me that Louveau’s team’s findings suggest ‘there may be more intimate interactions between the peripheral immune system and brain than we’ve ever realized.'”
io9 also discusses another study that found “a particular type of gut microbe is responsible for spurring cells in the gut to produce serotonin — nearly all the serotonin found in the body.”
Scientists Discover A New Link Between The Brain And The Immune System (io9, June 12, 2015)