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Antibiotic treatment in early life seems to impede brain signalling pathways that function in social behaviour and pain regulation in mice, a new study by Dr Katerina Johnson and Dr Philip Burnet has found. It was published today in BMC Neuroscience.

Test tubes © Shutterstock

Katerina Johnson, from the University's Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology, was researching the effects of disrupting the microbiome on the brain in mice. 'We know from previous research that animals missing microbes, such as germ-free animals (which are devoid of microbes) or antibiotic-treated animals (whose microbes are severely depleted), have impaired social behaviour,' she explains. 'I was therefore particularly interested in the effects of the microbiome on endorphin, oxytocin and vasopressin signalling since these neuropeptides play an important role in social and emotional behaviour.'

Read the full article (University of Oxford website)