The adoptive transfer of behavioral phenotype via the intestinal microbiota: experimental evidence and clinical implications

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Jun;16(3):240-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jul 8.


There is growing interest in the ability of the intestinal microbiome to influence host function within and beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Here we review evidence of microbiome-brain interactions in mice and focus on the ability to transfer behavioral traits between mouse strains using fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). Transplantation alters brain chemistry and behavior in recipient ex-germ free mice, raising the possibility of using FMT for disorders of the central nervous system, and prompting caution in the selection of FMT donors for conditions that may include refractory Clostridium difficile infection, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Clostridium Infections / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Mice
  • Microbiota*