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Earlier this year, A Fo Ben may have been guilty of failing to recognise the potential for a novel discovery from germ-free animals (‘Gut Feeling, PN issue 4 2016’). The Thy1-αSyn (alpha-synuclein overexpressing) mouse is predestined to develop a mousey equivalent of Parkinson’s disease. However, squeaky-clean ‘boy in the bubble’ mice did not develop the predicted motor deficits. Remarkably, antibiotic treatment ameliorates the phenotype while microbial recolonisation promotes it. This is a true example of gene versus environment demonstrating that gut microbiota are required for motor deficits, microglia activation and αSyn …
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