Reference Number: 197
Recent years have witnessed the rise of the gut microbiota as a major topic of research interest in biology. Studies are revealing how variations and changes in the composition of the gut microbiota influence normal physiology and contribute to diseases ranging from inflammation to obesity. Accumulating data now indicate that the gut microbiota also communicates with the CNS — possibly through neural, endocrine and immune pathways — and thereby influences brain function and behaviour. Studies in germ-free animals and in animals exposed to pathogenic bacterial infections, probiotic bacteria or antibiotic drugs suggest a role for the gut microbiota in the regulation of anxiety, mood, cognition and pain. Thus, the emerging concept of a microbiota–gut–brain axis suggests that modulation of the gut microbiota may be a tractable strategy for developing novel therapeutics for complex CNS disorders.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is a growing evidence that the gut microbiota plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis and that a disruption in its composition contributes to various disease states, including disorders related to the central nervous system. The concept of a microbiota–gut–brain axis is emerging to capture the importance that the microbiota has on regulating the gut–brain communication pathways. It is clear that stress, including stress in early life, can alter microbiota composition and this can have marked consequences on physiology in adulthood. There have been several studies in germ-free animals and in animals exposed to pathogenic bacterial infections, probiotic bacteria or antibiotic drugs suggest a role for the gut microbiota in the regulation of anxiety, mood, cognition and pain. Recent research shows that the gut microbiota has also been implicated in obesity, autism and multiple sclerosis. Mechanisms as to how the microbiota are affecting gut–brain signalling are only now being unravelled. These mechanisms may include alterations in microbial composition, immune activation, alterations in the metabolism of specific amino acids, production of specific microbial neuroactive metabolites. The current review suggests that harnessing such mechanisms may pave the way for microbial-based therapeutics for various CNS disorders, however the research is currently in its exploratory phase.
What we take from this research
The above review suggests that there is a indisputable link between stress, mood & the gut microbiome.