How does the gut microbiota interact with our second brain?

Currently, the gut is considered a primary site for the development of pathologies that modify brain functions such as neurodegenerative (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.) and metabolic disorders (type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc).


Deciphering the mode of interaction between microbiota and the brain is an innovative research avenue to prevent (and possibly treat in the future) gut-brain disfunctions and associated pathologies.

For the past 20 years, researchers have focused on the impact of gut microbiota in healthy and pathological conditions

As of 2021, more than 25,000 articles can be retrieved from PubMed with the keywords “gut microbiota and physiology”, showing the constant progress and impact on gut microbes by the scientific community. As a result, numerous therapeutic perspectives have been proposed to modulate the gut microbiota composition and/or bioactive factors released from microbes to restore our body functions.

The objective of this review is to describe recent scientific elements that explore the communication between gut microbiota and the brain by focusing our interest on the enteric nervous system (ENS) as an intermediate partner. The ENS, which is known as the “second brain”, could be under the direct or indirect influence of the gut microbiota and its released factors (short-chain fatty acids, neurotransmitters, gaseous factors, etc.).

Thus, in addition to their actions on tissue (such as adipose tissue, liver, brain, etc.), microbes can have an impact on local ENS activity. This potential modification of ENS function has global repercussions in the whole body via the gut-brain axis and represents a new therapeutic strategy. This article is part of the special Issue on ‘Cross Talk between Periphery and the Brain’.

Source : Fried S, Wemelle E, Cani PD, Knauf C. Interactions between the microbiota and enteric nervous system during gut-brain disorders. Neuropharmacology. 2021 Oct 1;197:108721. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108721. Epub 2021 Jul 15. PMID: 34274348.







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