Alzheimer's disease and gut microbiota

Sci China Life Sci. 2016 Oct;59(10):1006-1023. doi: 10.1007/s11427-016-5083-9. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a most common neurodegenerative disorder, which associates with impaired cognition. Gut microbiota can modulate host brain function and behavior via microbiota-gut-brain axis, including cognitive behavior. Germ-free animals, antibiotics, probiotics intervention and diet can induce alterations of gut microbiota and gut physiology and also host cognitive behavior, increasing or decreasing risks of AD. The increased permeability of intestine and blood-brain barrier induced by gut microbiota disturbance will increase the incidence of neurodegeneration disorders. Gut microbial metabolites and their effects on host neurochemical changes may increase or decrease the risk of AD. Pathogenic microbes infection will also increase the risk of AD, and meanwhile, the onset of AD support the "hygiene hypothesis". All the results suggest that AD may begin in the gut, and is closely related to the imbalance of gut microbiota. Modulation of gut microbiota through personalized diet or beneficial microbiota intervention will probably become a new treatment for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; diet; gut microbiota; hygiene hypothesis; infection; leaky brain; leaky gut.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / microbiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Diet
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / drug effects
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents