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Gastrointestinal and brain barriers: unlocking gates of communication across the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology Crosstalk between gut and brain has long been appreciated in health and disease, and the gut microbiota is a key player in communication between these two distant organs. Yet, the mechanisms through which the microbiota influences development and function of the gut-brain axis remain largely unknown. Barriers present in the gut and brain are specialized cellular interfaces that maintain strict homeostasis of different compartments across this axis. These barriers include the gut epithelial barrier, the blood-brain barrier and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. Barriers are ideally positioned to receive and communicate gut microbial signals constituting a gateway for gut-microbiota-brain communication. In this Review, we focus on how modulation of these barriers by the gut microbiota can constitute an important channel of communication across the gut-brain axis. Moreover, barrier malfunction upon alterations in gut microbial composition could form the basis of various conditions, including often comorbid neurological and gastrointestinal disorders. Thus, we should focus on unravelling the molecular and cellular basis of this communication and move from simplistic framing as 'leaky gut'. A mechanistic understanding of gut microbiota modulation of barriers, especially during critical windows of development, could be key to understanding the aetiology of gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. 10.1038/s41575-023-00890-0
Microbiome-microglia connections via the gut-brain axis. The Journal of experimental medicine Microglia, the resident immune cells in the brain, are essential for modulating neurogenesis, influencing synaptic remodeling, and regulating neuroinflammation by surveying the brain microenvironment. Microglial dysfunction has been implicated in the onset and progression of several neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases; however, the multitude of factors and signals influencing microglial activity have not been fully elucidated. Microglia not only respond to local signals within the brain but also receive input from the periphery, including the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Recent preclinical findings suggest that the gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in regulating microglial maturation and function, and altered microbial community composition has been reported in neurological disorders with known microglial involvement in humans. Collectively, these findings suggest that bidirectional crosstalk between the gut and the brain may influence disease pathogenesis. Herein, we discuss recent studies showing a role for the gut microbiome in modulating microglial development and function in homeostatic and disease conditions and highlight possible future research to develop novel microbial treatments for disorders of the brain. 10.1084/jem.20180794
Gut/brain axis and the microbiota. Mayer Emeran A,Tillisch Kirsten,Gupta Arpana The Journal of clinical investigation Tremendous progress has been made in characterizing the bidirectional interactions between the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract. A series of provocative preclinical studies have suggested a prominent role for the gut microbiota in these gut-brain interactions. Based on studies using rodents raised in a germ-free environment, the gut microbiota appears to influence the development of emotional behavior, stress- and pain-modulation systems, and brain neurotransmitter systems. Additionally, microbiota perturbations by probiotics and antibiotics exert modulatory effects on some of these measures in adult animals. Current evidence suggests that multiple mechanisms, including endocrine and neurocrine pathways, may be involved in gut microbiota-to-brain signaling and that the brain can in turn alter microbial composition and behavior via the autonomic nervous system. Limited information is available on how these findings may translate to healthy humans or to disease states involving the brain or the gut/brain axis. Future research needs to focus on confirming that the rodent findings are translatable to human physiology and to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, autism, anxiety, depression, and Parkinson's disease. 10.1172/JCI76304