Recognizing Depression from the Microbiota⁻Gut⁻Brain Axis

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 May 29;19(6):1592. doi: 10.3390/ijms19061592.


Major depression is one of the leading causes of disability, morbidity, and mortality worldwide. The brain⁻gut axis functions are disturbed, revealed by a dysfunction of the brain, immune system, endocrine system, and gut. Traditional depression treatments all target the brain, with different drugs and/or psychotherapy. Unfortunately, most of the patients have never received any treatment. Studies indicate that gut microbiota could be a direct cause for the disorder. Abnormal microbiota and the microbiota⁻gut⁻brain dysfunction may cause mental disorders, while correcting these disturbance could alleviate depression. Nowadays, the gut microbiota modulation has become a hot topic in treatment research of mental disorders. Depression is closely related with the health condition of the brain⁻gut axis, and maintaining/restoring the normal condition of gut microbiota helps in the prevention/therapy of mental disorders.

Keywords: brain–gut axis; gut microbiota; major depressive disorder; microbiota–gut–brain axis; psychobiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Depression* / microbiology
  • Depression* / physiopathology
  • Depression* / prevention & control
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Intestines* / microbiology
  • Intestines* / physiopathology