Research in recent years has enriched the knowledge about the intestinal microbiota and the gut-brain axis through which the microbiota can affect the brain. An increasing number of studies point to intestinal dysbiosis – a different microbial population – as one of the possible factors involved in the development of ASD. In the project we deal with the differences in the representation of specific bacteria in the stool of children with ASD in comparison with the general population of children and their siblings and the analysis of the relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the behavior in ASD. In the experimental projects, we monitor the sex-differentiated effect of fecal intestinal microbiota transplantation from children with ASD on experimental animals…. More

In the research projects on experimental animals, we cooperate with the Institute of Molecular Biomedicine Faculty of Medicine, CU and with the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice.

We do intestinal microbiota research in cooperation with the Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Comenius University and the Science Park, Comenius University.

Differences in the intestinal microbiota of autistic and neurotypical children.

We monitor the composition of the fecal microbiota and its genetic background by modern methods based on sequencing using DNA libraries and subsequent evaluation using software solutions. We have shown that the gut microbiota in children with autism is different from the microbiota of neurotypical children, while some bacteria occurred only in children with ASD. We have demonstrated a beneficial effect of probiotic supplementation on changes in the intestinal microbiota in ASD children, as well as on behavioral indicators. Recent research suggests that the gut-brain axis may play a role in ASD pathomechanisms. We monitored the effect of altered intestinal microbiota on behavioral and gastrointestinal symptoms in children with ASD. The correlation between behavioral and gastrointestinal manifestations has indicated several bacterial genera that may be important in ASD. Communication between microbes and neurons (gut-brain axis) could be mediated by S100B, released from glial cells and activated by low-grade inflammation.

Tomova A, Husarova V, Lakatosova S, Bakos J, Vlkova B, Babinska K & Ostatnikova D (2015) Gastrointestinal microbiota in children with autism in Slovakia. Physiol Behav 138: 179-187.

Tomova A, Soltys K, Repiska G, Palkova L, Filcikova D, Minarik G, Turna J, Prochotska K, Babinska K, Ostatnikova D. Specificity of gut microbiota in children with autism spectrum disorder in Slovakia and its correlation with astrocytes activity marker and specific behavioural patterns. Physiol Behav. 2020 Feb 1;214:112745

Tomova A., Soltys K., Kemenyova P., Karhanek M., Babinska K., The Influence of Food Intake Specificity in Children with Autism on Gut Microbiota, Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 17;21(8):2797.

Monitoring the consequences of the sex-specific effect of the gut microbiota from children with ASD on gnotobiotic mice

In animal projects, we investigate the sexually differentiated effect of fecal transplantation from ASD children to experimental animals – gnotobiotic mice. We examine behavioral changes as well as changes in the intestinal wall with subsequent gastrointestinal manifestations and regulation of food intake.