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The Role of Microbiota in Depressive Disorders ~ Prof Antonio Giordano (Sbarro Institute / SHRO)

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

The Role of Microbiota in Depressive Disorders

There is a correlation between the intestinal microbiota and the onset of mood and memory disorders, and it is determined by the ability of the microbiota to regulate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Inflammation of the intestinal tract, which causes the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha, IL-6, and MCP, able to pass the blood-brain barrier and affect an individual’s health and mind, is in fact one of the most reliable biological indicators of depression.

There is also a connection between this pathology and dysbiosis, a clinical condition that relates to an intestinal microbial composition, i.e. the imbalance of the bacterial flora.

The disorder frequently affects people with a constant inflammatory state, and the previously mentioned imbalances maintain the activity of a specific neurological circuit that regulates stress response and might generate anxiety and depression. According to a study published in Nature Microbiology, intestinal microbiota can produce neuroactive factors capable of influencing a person's mental state in fact when the intestinal microbiota is out of balance, the entire system is impacted.

According to this research study on 1063 subjects, there is a correlation between a state of well-being or mental malaise, (particularly depression) and a bacterial population characterized by a large presence of enterotype 2 Bacteroides and a lack of Coprococcus bacteria and Dialist. With the help of bioinformatic tools, it was demonstrated that the metabolism of the intestinal flora affects the metabolism of various substances that act as brain neuromediators, such as Gaba and tryptophan. It was, therefore, demonstrated that prebiotics and probiotics are adjuvants in therapies for anxiety and depression and we have begun to consider these drugs as true psychobiotics, given the close correlation between the intestine and mental disorders.

Thus, in the neurobiology field, it is becoming apparent that dysbiosis must be kept under control, to prevent the negative consequences of depressive and anxiety disorders associated with the inflammatory state.

This attention to microbiota can play a leading role in the prevention of inflammatory states and associated effects on the vascular barrier in children and adolescents.

Prof Antonio Giordano first published this article in Fortune Italia, click here to read it.

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