The gut, the brain, and what’s inside the gut are in constant communication. The inside of the gut is our largest vulnerable surface. The gut must co-operate with the brain to digest efficiently and at the same time defend against pathogens.
The contents of the gut, including gut bacteria, act on both the gut and the brain to influence appetite and satiety, mood, and metabolic health. Moreover, brain and spinal cord disorders have manifestations in the gut; these include Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Prion Disease, and Autism. Compromised gut health is associated with liver and metabolic diseases.
At the Florey we are investigating drugs that can improve gut health and treat disordered gut function. We are investigating the links between the brain and gut manifestations of Parkinson’s disease, and the addictive effects of certain foods. We are also investigating nerve stimulation therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.