[Intestinal Flora and Mental Disorders: A Focus on Mood Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder]

Brain Nerve. 2021 Aug;73(8):871-877. doi: 10.11477/mf.1416201854.
[Article in Japanese]


The intestinal flora plays a key role in the stress response and barrier function of the gut, both of which are closely associated with the pathophysiology of mental health conditions, such as mood disorders and autistic spectrum disorder through the phenomenon of brain-gut interaction. Despite increasing accumulation of empirical data regarding the contribution of the gut microbiota to these disorders, studies have reported inconsistent results. Notably, short chain fatty acid-producing bacteria and those implicated in the pathophysiology of metabolic diseases appear to be associated with the psychiatric conditions. Clinical trials have shown some evidence to suggest the beneficial effects of probiotics in depressive and neurodevelopmental disorders. Limited studies have discussed this subject; however, the role of the intestinal flora in the pathophysiology and treatment of mental disorders appears to be a promising field of research.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mood Disorders / therapy
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use