Modulatory Effects of Gut Microbiota on the Central Nervous System: How Gut Could Play a Role in Neuropsychiatric Health and Diseases

J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Apr 30;22(2):201-12. doi: 10.5056/jnm15146.


Gut microbiome is an integral part of the Gut-Brain axis. It is becoming increasingly recognized that the presence of a healthy and diverse gut microbiota is important to normal cognitive and emotional processing. It was known that altered emotional state and chronic stress can change the composition of gut microbiome, but it is becoming more evident that interaction between gut microbiome and central nervous system is bidirectional. Alteration in the composition of the gut microbiome can potentially lead to increased intestinal permeability and impair the function of the intestinal barrier. Subsequently, neuro-active compounds and metabolites can gain access to the areas within the central nervous system that regulate cognition and emotional responses. Deregulated inflammatory response, promoted by harmful microbiota, can activate the vagal system and impact neuropsychological functions. Some bacteria can produce peptides or short chain fatty acids that can affect gene expression and inflammation within the central nervous system. In this review, we summarize the evidence supporting the role of gut microbiota in modulating neuropsychological functions of the central nervous system and exploring the potential underlying mechanisms.

Keywords: Anxiety; Brain-Gut axis; Depression; Gut microbiota; Stress.

Publication types

  • Review