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      The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis

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      Physiological Reviews
      American Physiological Society

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          Abstract

          The importance of the gut-brain axis in maintaining homeostasis has long been appreciated. However, the past 15 yr have seen the emergence of the microbiota (the trillions of microorganisms within and on our bodies) as one of the key regulators of gut-brain function and has led to the appreciation of the importance of a distinct microbiota-gut-brain axis. This axis is gaining ever more traction in fields investigating the biological and physiological basis of psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, age-related, and neurodegenerative disorders. The microbiota and the brain communicate with each other via various routes including the immune system, tryptophan metabolism, the vagus nerve and the enteric nervous system, involving microbial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids, branched chain amino acids, and peptidoglycans. Many factors can influence microbiota composition in early life, including infection, mode of birth delivery, use of antibiotic medications, the nature of nutritional provision, environmental stressors, and host genetics. At the other extreme of life, microbial diversity diminishes with aging. Stress, in particular, can significantly impact the microbiota-gut-brain axis at all stages of life. Much recent work has implicated the gut microbiota in many conditions including autism, anxiety, obesity, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Animal models have been paramount in linking the regulation of fundamental neural processes, such as neurogenesis and myelination, to microbiome activation of microglia. Moreover, translational human studies are ongoing and will greatly enhance the field. Future studies will focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying the microbiota-gut-brain axis and attempt to elucidate microbial-based intervention and therapeutic strategies for neuropsychiatric disorders.

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          Most cited references1,036

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          An immunomodulatory molecule of symbiotic bacteria directs maturation of the host immune system.

          The mammalian gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex ecosystem consisting of countless bacteria in homeostasis with the host immune system. Shaped by evolution, this partnership has potential for symbiotic benefit. However, the identities of bacterial molecules mediating symbiosis remain undefined. Here we show that, during colonization of animals with the ubiquitous gut microorganism Bacteroides fragilis, a bacterial polysaccharide (PSA) directs the cellular and physical maturation of the developing immune system. Comparison with germ-free animals reveals that the immunomodulatory activities of PSA during B. fragilis colonization include correcting systemic T cell deficiencies and T(H)1/T(H)2 imbalances and directing lymphoid organogenesis. A PSA mutant of B. fragilis does not restore these immunologic functions. PSA presented by intestinal dendritic cells activates CD4+ T cells and elicits appropriate cytokine production. These findings provide a molecular basis for host-bacterial symbiosis and reveal the archetypal molecule of commensal bacteria that mediates development of the host immune system.
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            Recognition of microorganisms and activation of the immune response.

            The mammalian immune system has innate and adaptive components, which cooperate to protect the host against microbial infections. The innate immune system consists of functionally distinct 'modules' that evolved to provide different forms of protection against pathogens. It senses pathogens through pattern-recognition receptors, which trigger the activation of antimicrobial defences and stimulate the adaptive immune response. The adaptive immune system, in turn, activates innate effector mechanisms in an antigen-specific manner. The connections between the various immune components are not fully understood, but recent progress brings us closer to an integrated view of the immune system and its function in host defence.
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              The Microglial Sensome Revealed by Direct RNA Sequencing

              Microglia, the principal neuroimmune sentinels of the brain, continuously sense changes in their environment and respond to invading pathogens, toxins and cellular debris. Microglia exhibit plasticity and can assume neurotoxic or neuroprotective priming states that determine their responses to danger. We used direct RNA sequencing, without amplification or cDNA synthesis, to determine the quantitative transcriptomes of microglia of healthy adult and aged mice. We validated our findings by fluorescent dual in-situ hybridization, unbiased proteomic analysis and quantitative PCR. We report here that microglia have a distinct transcriptomic signature and express a unique cluster of transcripts encoding proteins for sensing endogenous ligands and microbes that we term the “sensome”. With aging, sensome transcripts for endogenous ligand recognition are downregulated, whereas those involved in microbe recognition and host defense are upregulated. In addition, aging is associated with an overall increase in expression of microglial genes involved in neuroprotection.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Physiological Reviews
                Physiological Reviews
                American Physiological Society
                0031-9333
                1522-1210
                October 01 2019
                October 01 2019
                : 99
                : 4
                : 1877-2013
                Affiliations
                [1 ]APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; and Department of Physiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
                Article
                10.1152/physrev.00018.2018
                31460832
                0810d11b-7803-486b-ad0d-ba95356425b8
                © 2019

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