Laura Kostwinder Joyce van Paassen Iliana Keritses Maria Tavares


The human microbiota consists of 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells critical for one’s digestive system, immune system and for managing neurological symptoms experienced in neurodevelopmental conditions. With early exposure to antibiotics, an individual’s microbiome composition is negatively affected by reducing the diversity of microbial species found in the microbiome and can lead to an imbalance in the Gut-Brain-Axis (GBA). While the direct relationship between the GBA and neurodevelopmental functioning is still unclear, evidence suggests that individuals with a disruptive microbiome and an imbalanced GBA have an increased risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  To improve microbiome diversity, exposure to a high prebiotic and probiotic diet in the early stages of life can reintroduce beneficial bacteria back into the microbiome and improve microbial diversity. Pre- and pro-biotics can improve microbiome diversity and restore balance to the GBA. With the introduction of a prebiotic and probiotic diet and a balanced GBA, there is a possibility to reduce the severity of ASD symptoms. By reducing the severity of ASD symptoms, the quality of life of those with severe ASD can potentially be improved allowing them to maintain functional independence. This research protocol intends to utilize an automated video tracking system and three-chambered social approach to evaluate the behavioural symptoms in BTBR strain mice which exhibit symptoms before and after administration of pre- and probiotics following antibiotic exposure.

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Research Protocol