Bacteria are everywhere – including our bodies. This is not a bad thing as they help us in many ways.  Many studies show that gut bacteria have an impact on behavior as well. During the first few months after birth, the brain actively develops. At the same time, bacteria enter from the diet and environment and multiply in the infants’ gut. As Bifidobacterium species (bifidobacteria) are the most common bacteria in the infants’ gut, we wanted to see if these bacteria play a role in the development of brain functions.

We examined the behavior of mice which we treated with bifidobacteria only and compared it to the behavior of mice without any bacteria and mice that had normal mouse gut bacteria. The germ-free mice showed many important behavioral differences when compared to mice with normal bacteria, and the mice that had only bifidobacteria behaved similarly to the normal mice demonstrating how important these bacteria are.  The sex of the rodents also played an important role in whether bifidobacteria could change their behavior.

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email


Other recommended resources
Related articles from our archives
Additional languages
Only available in English.
Opening video(s)

About this article

Summary of research
Scientists wanted to know if bifidobacteria play a role in the development of brain functions.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
November 2018

Looking for something else?