Short chain fatty acid supplementation improves stroke recovery in mice

Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay

Supplementing the body's short chain fatty acids may improve stroke recovery, according to new research published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The gut microbiome influences brain health, including how the brain recovers from stroke. Short chain fatty acids, a fermentation product from bacteria in the gut, are a key component of gut health, but their role in stroke recovery has not been explored.

For the study, researchers added short chain fatty acids to the drinking water of mice for four weeks before inducing a stroke. The mice that drank the fatty acid water experienced a better stroke recovery compared to the control mice, including reduced motor impairment and increased spine growth on dendrites, a crucial memory structure.

Additionally, the fatty acid-supplemented mice expressed more genes related to microglia, the brain's immune cells, according to the study.  

Microglia activity could be responsible for increasing dendritic spines and improving stroke outcome, researchers said. This relationship indicates short chain fatty acids may serve as messengers in the gut-brain connection by influencing how the brain responds to injury.

The results suggest short chain fatty acids could be a potential therapeutic to improve recovery after stroke, researchers said.