Gut dysbiosis and serotonin: intestinal 5-HT as a ubiquitous membrane permeability regulator in host tissues, organs, and the brain

Rev Neurosci. 2020 May 26;31(4):415-425. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2019-0095.


The microbiota and microbiome and disruption of the gut-brain axis were linked to various metabolic, immunological, physiological, neurodevelopmental, and neuropsychiatric diseases. After a brief review of the relevant literature, we present our hypothesis that intestinal serotonin, produced by intestinal enterochromaffin cells, picked up and stored by circulating platelets, participates and has an important role in the regulation of membrane permeability in the intestine, brain, and other organs. In addition, intestinal serotonin may act as a hormone-like continuous regulatory signal for the whole body, including the brain. This regulatory signal function is mediated by platelets and is primarily dependent on and reflects the intestine's actual health condition. This hypothesis may partially explain why gut dysbiosis could be linked to various human pathological conditions as well as neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: gut dysbiosis; membrane permeability; platelets; serotonin.