This research will test whether Alzheimer’s disease is caused, or at least influenced, by the gut microbiome. If this turns out to be true, there is a clear translational story, including the potential for new Alzheimer’s treatment and/or prevention based on drugs that influence the gut microbiome or fecal transplants. Unlike the human genome, the gut microbiome can be modified through transplants, synbiotics, and diet to prevent disease.
The research will rely on both animal and human studies. Researchers will assess the role of the microbiome in 250 participants in the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center clinical core and Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention study. Participants will comprise people with and without dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as participants who are asymptomatic but may be harboring “silent” Alzheimer’s neuropathology. The study involving data collection and analysis in humans will be followed by experimental validation in gnotobiotic mice.