Mind-altering with the gut: Modulation of the gut-brain axis with probiotics

J Microbiol. 2018 Mar;56(3):172-182. doi: 10.1007/s12275-018-8032-4. Epub 2018 Feb 28.


It is increasingly evident that bidirectional interactions exist among the gastrointestinal tract, the enteric nervous system, and the central nervous system. Recent preclinical and clinical trials have shown that gut microbiota plays an important role in these gut-brain interactions. Furthermore, alterations in gut microbiota composition may be associated with pathogenesis of various neurological disorders, including stress, autism, depression, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the concepts of the microbiota-gut-brain axis is emerging. Here, we review the role of gut microbiota in bidirectional interactions between the gut and the brain, including neural, immune-mediated, and metabolic mechanisms. We highlight recent advances in the understanding of probiotic modulation of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders via the gut-brain axis.

Keywords: gut dysbiosis; gut microbiota; gutbrain axis; nervous system; neurological disorders; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / microbiology
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use