Reference Number: 169
The gut microbiome is composed of ~10(13) -10(14) microbial cells and viruses that exist in a symbiotic bidirectional communicative relationship with the host. Bacterial functions in the gut have an important role in healthy host metabolic function, and dysbiosis can contribute to the pathology of many medical conditions. Alterations in the relationship between gut microbiota and host have gained some attention in mental health because new evidence supports the association of gut bacteria to cognitive and emotional processes. Of interest, illnesses such as major depressive disorder are disproportionately prevalent in patients with gastrointestinal illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease, which pathologically has been strongly linked to microbiome function. Not only is the microbiome associated with the disease itself, but it may also influence the effectiveness or adverse effects associated with pharmacologic agents used to treat these disorders. This field of study may also provide new insights on how dietary agents may help manage mental illness both directly as well as though their influence on the therapeutic and adverse effects of psychotropic agents.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Consideration of the human gut microbial composition and function will be a necessary part of future personalized medicine strategies. Great potential exists in examining the micro- biome to develop diagnostic markers of disease and to take advantage of therapeutic strategies that will maximize the benefice of a healthy gut structure. Most data describing the importance of the microbiome in psychiatric illness and pharmacologic management are currently from ex vivo or animal preclinical models. Biologic validation of these methods on large human cohorts will be necessary to demonstrate the strength and clinical utility of these types of predictors and therapeutic management of disease.