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World J Gastroenterol. 2019 Aug 7;25(29):3838-3841. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i29.3838.

Healthy axis: Towards an integrated view of the gut-brain health.

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Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, Milano 20122, Italy.
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Firenze 50134, Italy.


Despite the lack of precise mechanisms of action, a growing number of studies suggests that gut microbiota is involved in a great number of physiological functions of the human organism. In fact, the composition and the relations of intestinal microbial populations play a role, either directly or indirectly, to both the onset and development of various pathologies. In particular, the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system are closely connected by the so-called gut-brain axis, a complex bidirectional system in which the central and enteric nervous system interact with each other, also engaging endocrine, immune and neuronal circuits. This allows us to put forward new working hypotheses on the origin of some multifactorial diseases: from eating to neuropsychiatric disorders (such as autism spectrum disorders and depression) up to diabetes and tumors (such as colorectal cancer). This scenario reinforces the idea that the microbiota and its composition represent a factor, which is no longer negligible, not only in preserving what we call "health" but also in defining and thus determining it. Therefore, we propose to consider the gut-brain axis as the focus of new scientific and clinical investigation as long as the locus of possible systemic therapeutic interventions.


Dysbiosis; Gut-brain axis; Microbiota; Person-centered medicine; Personalized medicine; Symbiosis

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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