Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder, in which the clinical manifestations may be influenced by genetic and unknown environmental factors. Here we show that ALS-prone Sod1 transgenic (Sod1-Tg) mice have a pre-symptomatic, vivarium-dependent dysbiosis and altered metabolite configuration, coupled with an exacerbated disease under germ-free conditions or after treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. We correlate eleven distinct commensal bacteria at our vivarium with the severity of ALS in mice, and by their individual supplementation into antibiotic-treated Sod1-Tg mice we demonstrate that Akkermansia muciniphila (AM) ameliorates whereas Ruminococcus torques and Parabacteroides distasonis exacerbate the symptoms of ALS. Furthermore, Sod1-Tg mice that are administered AM are found to accumulate AM-associated nicotinamide in the central nervous system, and systemic supplementation of nicotinamide improves motor symptoms and gene expression patterns in the spinal cord of Sod1-Tg mice. In humans, we identify distinct microbiome and metabolite configurations—including reduced levels of nicotinamide systemically and in the cerebrospinal fluid—in a small preliminary study that compares patients with ALS with household controls. We suggest that environmentally driven microbiome–brain interactions may modulate ALS in mice, and we call for similar investigations in the human form of the disease.
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