In the past decade, the role of the gut microbiome and its influence on the brain has become a keystone in finding therapeutics for various disorders. The gut microbiome can be defined as the composition of all microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, viruses, that are present in your gastrointestinal tract1. For example, patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to suffer from comorbidities such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and increased levels of serotonin, suggesting that the gut microbiota might be the bridge between ASD and its exhibited symptoms. Recently, a paper published by the Molecular Brain aimed to investigate the aforementioned implications by creating environmental risk factor-induced mice models of ASD2. In doing so, they found that these mice showed a decrease in social activity, increased serotonin levels, alterations in the composition of gut bacterial species, and upregulation of metabolic pathways that result in IBD2.
This bidirectional interaction occurs through signalling from the gut-microbiota to the brain and from the brain to the gut-microbiota via neural, endocrine, and humoral links3, and this has been a recent emergence in the field of Neuroscience. By further understanding the role of the composition of the microbiome, we will gain further insight into the physiological underpinnings of the brain, allowing for the mitigation and alleviation of various neurological disorders and aberrations.
1 Gail A.M. Cresci PhD, RDN, CNSC, Kristin Izzo MS, RDN, CNSC, in Adult Short Bowel Syndrome, 2019
2 Lim JS, Lim MY, Choi Y, Ko G. Modeling environmental risk factors of autism in mice induces IBD-related gut microbial dysbiosis and hyperserotonemia. Molecular Brain.2017;10(1). doi:10.1186/s13041-017-0292-0
3 Carabotti M, Scirocco A, Maselli MA, Severi C. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015;28(2):203–209.