The role of the gut microbiome in the development of schizophrenia

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Kelly, John R.
Minuto, Chiara
Cryan, John F.
Clarke, Gerard
Dinan, Timothy G.
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Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder involving the convergence of a complex and dynamic bidirectional interaction of genetic expression and the accumulation of prenatal and postnatal environmental risk factors. The development of the neural circuitry underlying social, cognitive and emotional domains requires precise regulation from molecular signalling pathways, especially during critical periods or “windows”, when the brain is particularly sensitive to the influence of environmental input signalling. Many of the brain regions involved, and the molecular substrates sub-serving these domains are responsive to life-long microbiota-gut-brain (MGB) axis signalling. This intricate microbial signalling system communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, immune system, enteric nervous system, enteroendocrine signalling and production of microbial metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids. Preclinical data has demonstrated that MGB axis signalling influences neurotransmission, neurogenesis, myelination, dendrite formation and blood brain barrier development, and modulates cognitive function and behaviour patterns, such as, social interaction, stress management and locomotor activity. Furthermore, preliminary clinical studies suggest altered gut microbiota profiles in schizophrenia. Unravelling MGB axis signalling in the context of an evolving dimensional framework in schizophrenia may provide a more complete understanding of the neurobiological architecture of this complex condition and offers the possibility of translational interventions.
Schizophrenia , Psychosis , Microbiota , Microbiome , Gut-brain axis , Psychobiotics
Kelly, J. R., Minuto, C., Cryan, J. F., Clarke, G. and Dinan, T. G. (2020) 'The role of the gut microbiome in the development of schizophrenia', Schizophrenia Research, doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.02.010