Developing frog embryos without brains die of E. coli infections at higher rates than embryos with brains, report the authors of a study published on February 5 in npj Regenerative Medicine. The brain appears to send signals to the embryo’s nascent immune system, which results in macrophages moving to the site of an infection, according to a press release.
“Our results demonstrate the deep interconnections within the bacteria-brain-body axis: the early brain is able to ‘sense’ the pathogenic bacteria and to elaborate a response targeted to fight against the cellular and molecular consequences of the infection,” says coauthor Celia Herrera-Rincon of Tufts University in the statement.
C. Herrera-Rincon et al., “An in vivo brain-bacteria interface: the developing brain as a key regulator of innate immunity,” npj Regenerative Medicine, doi:10.1038/s41536-020-0087-2, 2020.
Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at email@example.com.
Correction (February 18): The article originally stated that the paper was published in Nature. npj Regenerative Medicine published the article. The Scientist regrets the error.