The Gut-Brain Axis: The Missing Link in Depression
Ceylan, Mehmet Emin
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The gut microbiota is essential to human health and the immune system and plays a major role in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. Based on evidence, the gut microbiota is associated with metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autistic disorders, anxiety disorders and major depressive disorders. In the past few years, neuroscientific research has shown the importance of the microbiota in the development of brain systems. Recent studies showed that the microbiota could activate the immune and central nervous systems, including commensal and pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Gut microorganisms are capable of producing and delivering neuroactive substances such as serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid, which act on the gut-brain axis. Preclinical research in rodents suggested that certain probiotics have antidepressant and anxiolytic activities. Effects may be mediated via the immune system or neuroendocrine systems. Herein, we present the latest literature examining the effects of the gut microbiota on depression.