Gut Microbiota and Disorders of the Central Nervous System
The Neuroscientist, Ahead of Print.
The gut microbiota, consisting of bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, and protozoa, together with their collective genomes (microbiome), plays a key role in immune system development and maturation, gut morphology, and in performing essential metabolic functions. Several factors, including lifestyle, body mass index, diet, antibiotic use, and the environment, influence the balance of the intestinal microbiota, whose alterations (the so-called dysbiosis) in recent years have been associated with the onset and/or progression of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. The purpose of this narrative review is to provide an overview of the possible involvement of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in the pathogenesis of diseases of the central nervous system, with a special focus on key issues and common misjudgments on the potential contribution of specific microorganisms.