GUTSTROKE Study: Influence of stroke on the composition of intestinal microbiota

The intestinal flora (intestinal microbiota) creates a microbial metabolic organ comprised of 1013 to 1014 microorganisms, with a genome (microbiome) 100 times larger than the human one. The metabolic capacity of intestinal microbiota is comparable to the human liver. Recently, a bidirectional communication axis between brain and the gut microbiota was described and suggested to be an important player in the development and course of several diseases of the nervous system. Changes in the composition of gut microbiota were associated with e.g. autism, depressions, Guillain-Barré syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, in the last years a link between disturbances of the microbiota composition, atherosclerosis and an increased risk for cardiovascular events was described.

In this study we examined whether the composition of intestinal microbiota changes after stroke and whether the intestinal microbiome of severely affected stroke patients differs from patients with only transient ischemic episodes in the brain (transient ischemic attack, TIA). In addition, we planed to study the immunological parameters in enrolled patients and to assess whether any stroke-associated changes in the gut microbiota are linked to changes in the immune response.

This is a proof of concept, prospective, observational study.

Study Director: Prof. Dr. Andreas Meisel (WG Cerebrovascular Diseases, NCRC, CSB, Neurology CCM)

Course of the study: 06/2014 - 06/2017

This study is registered in the database clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02008604).