Microbiota abnormalities and the therapeutic potential of probiotics in the treatment of mood disorders

Rev Neurosci. 2017 Oct 26;28(7):739-749. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2017-0001.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) are among the leading causes of burden and disability worldwide. Despite intensified research efforts to improve the treatment options and remission rates in mood disorders, no disease modifying treatment exists for these disorders. Accumulating evidence implicates the involvement of the gut microbiota in processes relevant to etiopathology of central nervous system-based disorders. The objective of this article was to critically evaluate the evidence supporting the link between gastrointestinal microbiota and mood disorders and to discuss the potential benefits of using probiotics in the treatment of MDD and BD. The concept of psychobiotics, which is bacterial-based interventions with mental health benefit, is emerging in the field. On the other hand, while probiotics might potentially represent a significant advance, specific roles of microbiota in the pathophysiology of mood disorders still need further investigation along with intervention studies.

Keywords: bipolar disorder; major depression disorder; microbiome; microbiota; mood disorders; probiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bipolar Disorder / diet therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / microbiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diet therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*