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Shaping the Mind With Gut Bacteria

Jacobs, Jonathan P. MD, PhD1,2,3; Mayer, Emeran A. MD2,3

American Journal of Gastroenterology: July 2019 - Volume 114 - Issue 7 - p 1034–1035
doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000281

Preclinical and a few clinical studies have demonstrated the existence of a brain-gut-microbiome axis in which bacterial signals can modulate affective behavior, brain activity, and central gene expression profiles. The study by Wang et al. in this issue (Wang H, Braun C, Murphy EF, et al. Bifidobacterium longum 1714™ strain modulates brain activity of healthy volunteers during social stress. Am J Gastroenterol 2019;114:1152–62.) contributes to a growing body of literature demonstrating that probiotics that alter behavior in animal models—termed “psychobiotics”—can induce changes in human brain networks involved in emotional or cognitive responses. Although there are still many unknowns about the potential of existing probiotics to induce clinically relevant effects, these findings support continued investigation into interventions acting on the brain-gut-microbiome axis for affective, cognitive, and behavioral disorders.

1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Parenteral Nutrition, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA;

2G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA;

3UCLA Microbiome Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Correspondence: Jonathan P. Jacobs. E-mail:

Received April 10, 2019

Accepted April 25, 2019

© The American College of Gastroenterology 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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