Background: Current treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) often does not achieve full remission of symptoms. Therefore, new forms of treatment and/or adjunct therapy are needed. Evidence has confirmed the modulation of the gut-brain-microbiota axis as a promising approach in MDD patients. The overall purpose of the SANGUT study-a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Effect of Probiotic Supplementation on the Mental Status, Inflammation, and Intestinal Barrier in Major Depressive Disorder Patients Using Gluten-free or Gluten-containing Diet - is to determine the effect of interventions focused on the gut-brain-microbiota axis in a group of MDD patients.
Methods: A total of 120 outpatients will be equally allocated into one of four groups: (1) probiotic supplementation+gluten-free diet group (PRO-GFD), (2) placebo supplementation+ gluten-free diet group (PLA-GFD), (3) probiotic supplementation+ gluten containing diet group (PRO-GD), and (4) placebo supplementation+gluten containing diet group (PLA-GD). PRO groups will receive a mixture of psychobiotics (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175), and GFD groups will follow a gluten-free diet. The intervention will last 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure is change in wellbeing, whereas the secondary outcome measures include physiological parameters.
Discussion: Microbiota and its metabolites have the potential to influence CNS function. Probiotics may restore the eubiosis within the gut while a gluten-free diet, via changes in the microbiota profile and modulation of intestinal permeability, may alter the activity of microbiota-gut-brain axis previously found to be associated with the pathophysiology of depression. It is also noteworthy that microbiota being able to digest gluten may play a role in formation of peptides with different immunogenic capacities. Thus, the combination of a gluten-free diet and probiotic supplementation may inhibit the immune-inflammatory cascade in MDD course and improve both psychiatric and gut barrier-associated traits.
Trial registration: NCT03877393 .
Keywords: Depression; EEG functional connectivity; Gluten-free diet; Gut microbiota; Gut permeability; Gut-brain axis; Inflammation; Intervention study; Probiotics; Study protocol.