The role of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in neuropsychiatric disorders


Braz. J. Psychiatry




The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a bidirectional signaling mechanism between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. The complexity of the intestinal ecosystem is extraordinary; it comprises more than 100 trillion microbial cells that inhabit the small and large intestine, and this interaction between microbiota and intestinal epithelium can cause physiological changes in the brain and influence mood and behavior. Currently, there has been an emphasis on how such interactions affect mental health. Evidence indicates that intestinal microbiota are involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders. This review covers evidence for the influence of gut microbiota on the brain and behavior in Alzheimer disease, dementia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia. The primary focus is on the pathways involved in intestinal metabolites of microbial origin, including short-chain fatty acids, tryptophan metabolites, and bacterial components that can activate the host’s immune system. We also list clinical evidence regarding prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation as adjuvant therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders.

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