The human gut microbiota plays a significant role in the pathophysiology of central nervous system-related diseases. Recent studies suggest correlations between the altered gut microbiota and major depressive disorder (MDD). It is proposed that normalization of the gut microbiota alleviates MDD. The imbalance of brain-gut-microbiota axis also results in dysregulation of the hypothalamicpituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis. This imbalance has a crucial role in the pathogenesis of depression. Treatment strategies with certain antibiotics lead to the depletion of useful microbes and thereby induce depression like effects in subjects. Microbiota is also involved in the synthesis of various neurotransmitters (NTs) like 5-hydroxy tryptamine (5-HT; serotonin), norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA). In addition to NTs, the gut microbiota also has an influence on brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Recent research findings have exhibited that transfer of stress prone microbiota in mice is also responsible for depression and anxiety-like behaviour in animals. The use of probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and proper diet have shown beneficial effects in the regulation of depression pathogenesis. Moreover, transplantation of fecal microbiota from depressed individuals to normal subjects also induces depression-like symptoms. With the precedence of limited therapeutic benefits from monoamine targeting drugs, the regulation of brain-gut microbiota is emerging as a new treatment modality for MDDs. In this review, we elaborate on the significance of brain-gut-microbiota axis in the progression of MDD, particularly focusing on the modulation of the gut microbiota as a mode of treating MDD.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.