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Curr Environ Health Rep. 2016 Sep;3(3):270-86. doi: 10.1007/s40572-016-0100-5.

The Microbiota, Immunoregulation, and Mental Health: Implications for Public Health.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Physiology and Center for Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, 1725 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO, 80309-0354, USA. christopher.lowry@colorado.edu.
2
Department of Integrative Physiology and Center for Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, 1725 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO, 80309-0354, USA.
3
Laboratory for Molecular Psychosomatics, Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm, D-89081, Ulm, Germany.
4
Departments of Psychiatry, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Colorado, Anschutz School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA.
5
Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 19, Denver, CO, 80220, USA.
6
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, 80840, USA.
7
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
8
Rocky Mountain MIRECC, Denver, CO, 80220, USA.
9
VISN 5 MIRECC, Baltimore, MD, 21201, USA.
10
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA.
11
Qantu Therapeutics, Inc., Lewisville, TX, 75057, USA.
12
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.
13
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, Cape Town, 7505, South Africa.
14
Departments of Pediatrics and Computer Science and Engineering, and Center for Microbiome Innovation, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA.
15
School of Human Ecology and School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
16
Center for Clinical Microbiology, UCL (University College London), WC1E 6BT, London, UK.

Abstract

The hygiene or "Old Friends" hypothesis proposes that the epidemic of inflammatory disease in modern urban societies stems at least in part from reduced exposure to microbes that normally prime mammalian immunoregulatory circuits and suppress inappropriate inflammation. Such diseases include but are not limited to allergies and asthma; we and others have proposed that the markedly reduced exposure to these Old Friends in modern urban societies may also increase vulnerability to neurodevelopmental disorders and stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and affective disorders, where data are emerging in support of inflammation as a risk factor. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of the potential for Old Friends, including environmental microbial inputs, to modify risk for inflammatory disease, with a focus on neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions. We highlight potential mechanisms, involving bacterially derived metabolites, bacterial antigens, and helminthic antigens, through which these inputs promote immunoregulation. Though findings are encouraging, significant human subjects' research is required to evaluate the potential impact of Old Friends, including environmental microbial inputs, on biological signatures and clinically meaningful mental health prevention and intervention outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Depression; Lactobacilli; Microbiome; Mycobacteria; Posttraumatic stress disorder

PMID:
27436048
PMCID:
PMC5763918
DOI:
10.1007/s40572-016-0100-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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