Treatment with Bacterial Biologics Promotes Healthy Aging and Traumatic Brain Injury Responses in Adult Drosophila, Modeling the Gut-Brain Axis and Inflammation Responses

Cells. 2021 Apr 14;10(4):900. doi: 10.3390/cells10040900.


Drosophila are widely used to study neural development, immunity, and inflammatory pathways and processes associated with the gut-brain axis. Here, we examine the response of adult Drosophila given an inactive bacteriologic (IAB; proprietary lysate preparation of Lactobacillus bulgaricus, ReseT®) and a probiotic (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, LGG). In vitro, the IAB activates a subset of conserved Toll-like receptor (TLR) and nucleotide-binding, oligomerization domain-containing protein (NOD) receptors in human cells, and oral administration slowed the age-related decline of adult Drosophila locomotor behaviors. On average, IAB-treated flies lived significantly longer (+23%) and had lower neural aggregate profiles. Different IAB dosages also improved locomotor function and longevity profiles after traumatic brain injury (TBI) exposure. Mechanistically, short-term IAB and LGG treatment altered baseline nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κβ) signaling profiles in neural and abdominal tissues. Overall, at select dosages, IAB and LGG exposure has a positive impact on Drosophila longevity, neural aging, and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related responses, with IAB showing greater benefit. This includes severe TBI (sTBI) responses, where IAB treatment was protective and LGG increased acute mortality profiles. This work shows that Drosophila are an effective model for testing bacterial-based biologics, that IAB and probiotic treatments promote neuronal health and influence inflammatory pathways in neural and immune tissues. Therefore, targeted IAB treatments are a novel strategy to promote the appropriate function of the gut-brain axis.

Keywords: Toll-like receptor (TLR); anti-microbial peptide (AMP); gut–brain axis; inactive bacteriologic (IAB); neural inflammaging; nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κβ); nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein (NOD2); pathogen associated molecular pattern (PAMP); probiotic; traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / pathology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology*
  • Healthy Aging / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus / physiology
  • Longevity / drug effects
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Aggregates / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism


  • Biological Products
  • Protein Aggregates
  • Receptors, Cell Surface