Focus on the essentials: tryptophan metabolism and the microbiome-gut-brain axis

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Gheorghe, Cassandra Elise
Martin, Jason A.
Villalobos Manriquez, Francisca
Dinan, Timothy G.
Cryan, John F.
Clarke, Gerard
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Elsevier Ltd.
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The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, in which serotonin (5-HT) functions as a key neurotransmitter. Recent research has increasingly concentrated on tryptophan, the precursor to 5-HT and on the microbial regulation of tryptophan metabolism, with an emphasis on host-microbe control over kynurenine pathway metabolism and microbial-specific pathways that generate bioactive tryptophan metabolites. Here, we critically assess recent progress made towards a mechanistic understanding of the microbial regulation of tryptophan metabolism and microbiota-gut-brain axis homeostasis highlighting the role tryptophan metabolism plays in preclinical and clinical neuroscience and in the challenge to improve our understanding of how perturbed tryptophan metabolism contributes to stress-related psychiatric disorders.
Gut-brain axis , Central nervous system , Gastrointestinal tract , Serotonin , 5-HT , Tryptophan metabolism
Gheorghe, C. E., Martin, J. A., Villalobos Manriquez, F., Dinan, T. G., Cryan, J. F. and Clarke, G. (2019) 'Focus on the essentials: tryptophan metabolism and the microbiome-gut-brain axis', Current Opinion in Pharmacology, 48, pp. 137-145. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2019.08.004