Why we feel emotions in our guts, and what microbes have to do with it
肠脑连接:心情低落,肠道不畅——微生物传递功能
939字
2019-07-12 11:55
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In the dark, oxygen-free zone of our large intestines, a vast community of life is flourishing. Scientists say there are more than 100 trillion microbes living there, and if you gathered them all together, they would weigh more than our brains.

在我们漆黑无氧漫长区域的肠道,活跃着大量微小生命体(菌群)。科学家估计,肠道共有100兆微小生物,把它们堆积在一起会比人的脑袋还重。

In his new book, "The Mind-Gut Connection," Dr. Emeran Mayer explains how these microscopic organisms insert themselves into the running dialogue between the brain and the gut. In the process, he says, they help determine how stressed out we get, when we get sick and how quickly we recover.

Emeran Mayer博士所著的《肠脑连接(The Mind-Gut Connection)》一书中,他解释了这些微小生物群如何参与肠脑对话。他认为,微生物确定我们感知承受的压力、患病时间以及康复快慢。

Mayer is the director of the UCLA Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress and the co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center. He has been studying interactions between the gut and the mind for 30 years.

Mayer是加州大学洛杉矶分校应激神经生物学 Oppenheimer家庭中心主任和消化疾病研究中心(CURE)副主任。 30年来,他一直在研究肠道和大脑之间相互作用。

Part of what inspired him to write the book was the lack of concrete information about how the gut microbiome affects our mental state.

肠道微生物组怎么影响人精神状态,当时确实是个谜团。这是激励作者撰写该书部分原因。

"People have written some very speculative and provocative review articles about how microbes might regulate human emotions," said Mayer, a gastroenterologist. "What I have tried to do is be critical and extract what we know so far and speculate about what this could imply."

胃肠病学家Mayer说:“过去发表的关于微生物组如何调节人的情绪文章,有些是推测性和煽动性。我现在做的是对那些观点批判性地吸收,并提出我的认识。”

Mayer spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the tiny creatures that may have an outsize influence on our physical and psychological health.

Mayer对《洛杉矶时报》讲述了这种微小生命体对人的身体和心理健康有着重大影响。

What's so special about the gut?

大肠的奇异特性

The gut is a much more complicated system than most people realize. People think it is this machine that processes, transports and absorbs foods. In reality it is an extensive sensory system, signaling system and immune system.

大肠是人们尚未完全认识的复杂系统,通常认为它仅是消化、吸收和传输食物的器官;事实上,它有功能强大的感官、传感和免疫系统。

In the book you sometimes refer to the gut as 'the little brain.' Why is that?

为什么肠道被称为“小脑”?

We have a nervous system sandwiched between the layers of our gut that has between 50 [million] and 100 million nerve cells. It's about the size of the spinal cord if you pushed it all together.

我们肠道内层有5000万至1亿个神经细胞,构成完整的神经系统,把它全部展开大约有脊髓那么长。

It has its own intelligence. It wants to get rid of things that don't belong there — either bacteria, bad bugs or toxins from rotten foods. If you ingest something wrong, it gives the signal to throw it up, and if you have a bad bug in your large intestine, it generates diarrhea. The reason it is so perfect is it has evolved over billions of years. Even the most primitive marine animals had something very similar in principle.

肠道有能力消除不属于它那里的任何物质:有害菌、蠕虫和腐败食物毒素。饮食不当,会发生呕吐;大肠坏细菌引起腹泻。这都是自古以来铁的事实,原始海洋动物也与其相似。

Why are the microbes that live in the gut important?

肠道微生物为什么重要?

What we know for sure is that this community plays a major role in processes of digestion, metabolism, gut health and immune defense mechanisms. But my peak interest is the connection between the microbes and the human brain. There have been some very intriguing mouse and rat studies in the last few years that show communication between the microbes and the brain can play quite a big role in the generation of the emotional behaviors of these animals.

大家都知道,微生物对人体消化食物、新陈代谢、大肠功能和免疫防御起着重大作用。但是,微生物与大脑相互间是如何联系呢?前几年老鼠实验表明,微生物与大脑间信息传递对动物情感举止的形成起着重大作用。

Have any of those studies been done in humans?

对人类的研究实验有哪些?

In adults, surprisingly, there is very limited data to confirm these animal studies. It's not that there are negative studies, it's just not enough studies.

遗憾的是,人类实验十分有限,这并非方法有问题,而是投入研究不够。

How can tiny microbes in the gut communicate with the brain?

肠道微小微生物如何与大脑连接?

There are receptors throughout our bodies that respond to signals from the microbes or the metabolites that they produce. For example, certain microbes can influence the production of the serotonin molecule, which plays a role in appetite regulation, food intake, well-being and sleep. That gives the microbes a tremendous ability to influence overall health states.

我们遍及全身的接受器可应答微小生物和代谢物发出的任何信号。例如,有些微生物会影响血清素水平。血清素对调节食欲、食物摄取、愉快心情和睡眠都起着重要作用;它使微生物具有影响我们全身健康的重大能力。

Also, some microbe signals can activate the vagus nerve endings in the gut, which are like an information highway to the brain. Many of these effects are seen in animal studies. Researchers manipulated the microbes in the guts of mice and saw different behaviors. But these same behaviors were abolished when they cut the vagus nerve.

微生物信号还会刺激肠道迷走神经末端。这是一条通向大脑的信息高速公路。研究人员通过控制老鼠肠道里的微生物数量,发现老鼠各种不同行为。但切除老鼠迷走神经后,那些相同的行为就不存在了。

I definitely feel emotions in my stomach. For example, when I'm angry, I can feel my stomach clench up. What's going on?

肠胃受情绪变化。如人生气时,胃就有揪心感觉。这是怎么回事?

Every emotional state has a reflection on the gut level. The pattern for an angry stomach is contraction, more acid secretion and an increase in blood flow to allow the stomach to do this extra work.

每一种情绪都会在肠胃得到反映。生气时胃会收缩、分泌酸液和血液流动加快,增加肠胃额外负担。

When we experience these emotions — especially stress and anxiety — there is also a release of stress hormones like XXXX and norepinephrine. They circulate in the blood and make your heart beat faster and cause sweaty palms. We are learning now that they also influence the behavior of the microbes in your gut because they have receptors for these chemicals.

每当心情不愉快时,特别精神紧张和忧愁悲观时,微生物会释放应激激素,如肾上腺素和去甲肾上腺素。它会引起心跳加速和手掌出汗。现在发现,肠道中微生物对这些变化有感应功能,影响微生物活性。

Animal studies have shown that the release of these chemicals can change the gene expression profile of the bacteria in the gut, causing their virulence genes to be up-regulated.

这些化学物质的释放会改变肠道细菌的基因表达模式,以控制毒性致病基因出现。

What is the relationship between gut microbes and depression? Do you think microbes can cause it?

肠道微生物与抑郁关系:是抑郁改变微生物,还是微生物引起忧郁?

It's the chicken and the egg question: Do abnormalities in the gut influence the brain or do abnormalities in the brain influence the gut? I've seen one study presented that was able to show a change in the behavior of mice that got gut microbes from a depressed person. The mice didn't act depressed, but there was some alteration in their behavior.

这是鸡生蛋和蛋生鸡的问题:是大肠紊乱影响大脑,还是大脑错乱影响大肠?从最近一篇研究报告得知,用抑郁症患者细菌注射在老鼠肠道里,老鼠行为举止起了变化。

There are still a lot of questions though. We are just at the beginning of this, but there are a lot of experiments underway.

但科学上仍有许多不可知领域,待进行大量实验。

What about the relationship between our gut microbes and other diseases?

肠道微生物与其他疾病关系

It is plausible that the microbiota in the gut play a role in initiating diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimers and autism, but most of the evidence is really speculative. I think if we have this conversation in five years, then I could say yes or no, this is confirmed, this is not.

有种说法认为,肠道微生物也会引起帕金森病、阿尔茨海默症和孤独症。绝大多数证据表明,这仅是推理。如果五年前谈这个问题,可能难以确定,现在可肯定地说无关。

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