In the last decade the role of environmental factors as modulators of disease activity and progression has received increasing attention. In contrast to classical environmental modulators such as exposure to sun-light or fine dust pollution, nutrition is an ideal tool for a personalized human intervention. Various studies demonstrate a key role of dietary factors in autoimmune diseases including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In this review we discuss the connection between diet and inflammatory processes via the gut-CNS-axis. This axis describes a bi-directional communication system and comprises neuronal signaling, neuroendocrine pathways and modulation of immune responses. Therefore, the gut-CNS-axis represents an emerging target to modify CNS inflammatory activity ultimately opening new avenues for complementary and adjunctive treatment of autoimmune diseases such as MS.
Keywords: gut–CNS-axis; immune system; microbiota; multiple sclerosis; nutrition.