Cross-talk between food-borne Lactiplantibacillus (Lpb.) plantarum and the endocannabinoid system towards Autism Spectrum Disorder
Natalia Battista, PhD
University of Teramo Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is one of the major modulators among the signaling pathways involved in the microbiota–gut–brain axis and the potential role of this endogenous system has been reported also in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
The general aim of this project is to evaluate the suitability of food-borne Lactiplantibacillus (Lpb.) plantarum strains, a versatile and robust dominant species in fermented foods, as a putative strategy to ameliorate ASD-symptoms through the involvement of the ECS.
To test our hypothesis, we propose to feed Lpb. plantarum strains to mice of two ASD mouse models, one based on genetic and one based on environmental etiology, in order to verify whether the treatment rescues specific behavioral deficits, restores levels of inhibitory and excitatory synaptic markers and modulates the ECS signaling. Levels of cytokines, endocannabinoids and gut barrier function will be also measured in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to evaluate the impact of the host-microbe interaction in counteracting ASD-GI symptoms.
The multidisciplinary approach of this project will make it possible to advance in the field of microbial interventions with promising therapeutical value for the amelioration of ASD symptoms, by unveiling the possible role of the ECS in the communication mechanisms within the microbiota–gut–brain axis.