Mood and Microbes: Gut to Brain Communication in Depression

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2019 Sep;48(3):389-405. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2019.04.006. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


The gut microbiota, acting via the gut-brain axis, modulates key neurobiological systems that are dysregulated in stress-related disorders. Preclinical studies show that the gut microbiota exerts an influence over neuroimmune and neuroendocrine signaling pathways, in addition to epigenetic modification, neurogenesis, and neurotransmission. In humans, preliminary evidence suggests that the gut microbiota profile is altered in depression. The full impact of microbiota-based treatments, at different neurodevelopmental time points, has yet to be fully explored. The integration of the gut microbiota, as a mediator, in the complex trajectory of depression, may enhance the possibility of personalized precision psychiatry.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Gut-brain axis; Immune system; Microbiome; Microbiota; Psychobiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans