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Research Project: Pediatric Clinical Nutrition

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Brain gut microbiome interactions and functional bowel disorders

item MAYER, EMERAN - Ucla Health System
item SAVIDGE, TOR - Baylor College Of Medicine
item SHULMAN, ROBERT - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Gastroenterology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/2014
Publication Date: 7/29/2014
Citation: Mayer, E.A., Savidge, T., Shulman, R.J. 2014. Brain gut microbiome interactions and functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 146(6):1500-1512.

Interpretive Summary: The bacteria in our intestines can influence our health. Emerging evidence suggests that intestinal bacteria can influence the functioning of our brain. In turn, the brain can send signals that affect the bacteria in our intestines. This so called brain-gut axis may be disturbed in people with certain types of gastrointestinal disorders. Diet influences the types of bacteria that thrive in our intestines. Thus, we may be able to influence brain functioning by changing the composition of the diet, and hence, the types of bacteria and their messaging to the brain.

Technical Abstract: Alterations in the bidirectional interactions between the intestine and the nervous system have important roles in the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A body of largely preclinical evidence suggests that the gut microbiota can modulate these interactions. A small and poorly defined role for dysbiosis in the development of IBS symptoms has been established through characterization of altered intestinal microbiota in IBS patients and reported improvement of subjective symptoms after its manipulation with prebiotics, probiotics, or antibiotics. It remains to be determined whether IBS symptoms are caused by alterations in brain signaling from the intestine to the microbiota or primary disruption of the microbiota, and whether they are involved in altered interactions between the brain and intestine during development. We review the potential mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of IBS in different groups of patients. Studies are needed to better characterize alterations to the intestinal microbiome in large cohorts of well-phenotyped patients, and to correlate intestinal metabolites with specific abnormalities in gut-brain interactions.