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Trends Neurosci. 2016 Nov;39(11):763-781. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain Signals.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UD, UK.
2
Institute of Clinical Medicine/Psychiatry, University of Eastern Finland, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland; Department of Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
4
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
5
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Electronic address: phil.burnet@psych.ox.ac.uk.

Abstract

Psychobiotics were previously defined as live bacteria (probiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with commensal gut bacteria. We expand this definition to encompass prebiotics, which enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. We review probiotic and prebiotic effects on emotional, cognitive, systemic, and neural variables relevant to health and disease. We discuss gut-brain signalling mechanisms enabling psychobiotic effects, such as metabolite production. Overall, knowledge of how the microbiome responds to exogenous influence remains limited. We tabulate several important research questions and issues, exploration of which will generate both mechanistic insights and facilitate future psychobiotic development. We suggest the definition of psychobiotics be expanded beyond probiotics and prebiotics to include other means of influencing the microbiome.

KEYWORDS:

gut–brain axis; interkingdom signalling; microbiome; microbiota; prebiotics; probiotics

PMID:
27793434
PMCID:
PMC5102282
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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