Understanding and targeting microbial patterns among adolescents with depression: using a complex systems approach in an urban environment

The overall aim of the project is to understand the interplay between microbial patterns with depression in adolescents from an urban setting using a complexity approach, whereby the gut microbiome is theorized as both a readout of environmental influences, as well as a modifiable biological factor in depression.
This will be done in 3 parts:

1 Discovery phase, to investigate the impact of adolescent depression on individual and group microbial patterns over time. In order to this, two projects have started: (a) Review into the changeability of the microbiome in depression. (b) Analysis of a large-scale dataset (Helius) into the relation between adverse childhood events and microbiome.

2 Mechanism exploration phase, to analyze functional microbiota parameters in conjunction with the known host physiology. Taking the results from the microbiome sequencing analysis, we will use preclinical models to investigate the function of certain microbiota and metabolites, with a focus on butyrate (year 2-3).

3 Proof of concept intervention phase, to investigate the effectiveness of microbial metabolite intervention on depressive symptoms. Simultaneously, we will perform a randomized clinical trial with butyrate to study the effect on depressive symptoms in urban adolescents (year 1-4).

Scientist involved in this project

Tineke Banda

Funded by

University of Amsterdam Research Priority Area Urban Mental Health