Gut Emotions - Mechanisms of Action of Probiotics as Novel Therapeutic Targets for Depression and Anxiety Disorders
A priority clinical and research agenda in mood and anxiety disorders is to identify determinants that influence illness trajectory and outcome. Over the past decade, studies have demonstrated a bidirectional relationship between the gut microbiome and brain function (i.e., the microbiota-gut-brain axis). Probiotic treatments and developmental analysis of the microbiome may provide potential treatments and preventative measures for depressive and anxiety disorders. This systematic literature review aims to identify original studies linking the gut microbiota to major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, this review searched for original reports focusing on possible therapeutic and preventative effects of probiotics for these debilitating conditions. Accumulating data indicate that the gut microbiota communicates with the CNS through neural, endocrine and immune pathways. Studies in germ-free animals indicate that the microbiota is involved in the regulation of the stress response (e.g., hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) and in CNS development at critical stages. Probiotics attenuate anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in experimental animal models. Notwithstanding some inconsistencies and methodological limitations across trials, clinical studies suggest that probiotics may mitigate anxiety symptoms. However, future studies should investigate the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of probiotics in more phenotypically homogeneous populations. In conclusion, the emerging concept of a gut microbiota-brain axis suggests that the modulation of the gut microbiota may provide a novel therapeutic target for the treatment and/or prevention of mood and anxiety disorders.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 December 2014
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- CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.