Gut-Brain Connection: How the Microbiome Influences Social Behavior


A recent study in zebrafish larvae showed that gut microbes were necessary during early life for the typical expression of social behavior later in life. Design by Medical News Today; photograph Nick David/Getty Images

  • The gut microbiome can influence the development of the brain and behaviors, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood.

  • A recent study in zebrafish larvae showed that gut microbes were necessary during early life for the typical expression of social behavior later in life.

  • Gut microbiota modulated the function of microglia, the immune cells in the brain, to influence the development of a forebrain region involved in social behavior.

  • Altered gut microbiome composition is associated with neurodevelopmental conditions like autism, and this study is a step toward understanding the mechanism underlying this association.

A recent study showed that an intact gut microbiome during early life is essential for the development of healthy social behavior in later life in zebrafish.


The gut microbiome influenced the development of a forebrain region involved in social behavior, and these effects of microbiota were mediated by modulating the gene expression and abundance of microglia in the aforementioned brain region. Read entire article by Deep Shukla at MedicalNewsToday.

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