Microbiota regulation of the Mammalian gut-brain axis

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2015;91:1-62. doi: 10.1016/bs.aambs.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


The realization that the microbiota-gut-brain axis plays a critical role in health and disease has emerged over the past decade. The brain-gut axis is a bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system (CNS) and the gastrointestinal tract. Regulation of the microbiota-brain-gut axis is essential for maintaining homeostasis, including that of the CNS. The routes of this communication are not fully elucidated but include neural, humoral, immune, and metabolic pathways. A number of approaches have been used to interrogate this axis including the use of germ-free animals, probiotic agents, antibiotics, or animals exposed to pathogenic bacterial infections. Together, it is clear that the gut microbiota can be a key regulator of mood, cognition, pain, and obesity. Understanding microbiota-brain interactions is an exciting area of research which may contribute new insights into individual variations in cognition, personality, mood, sleep, and eating behavior, and how they contribute to a range of neuropsychiatric diseases ranging from affective disorders to autism and schizophrenia. Finally, the concept of psychobiotics, bacterial-based interventions with mental health benefit, is also emerging.

Keywords: Animal behavior; Anxiety; Gut–brain axis; Microbiota.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Central Nervous System
  • Cognition
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Mammals
  • Microbiota / physiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents