Gut-brain axis: How the microbiome influences anxiety and depression

Jane A. Foster, Karen Anne McVey Neufeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1566 Scopus citations


Within the first few days of life, humans are colonized by commensal intestinal microbiota. Here, we review recent findings showing that microbiota are important in normal healthy brain function. We also discuss the relation between stress and microbiota, and how alterations in microbiota influence stress-related behaviors. New studies show that bacteria, including commensal, probiotic, and pathogenic bacteria, in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can activate neural pathways and central nervous system (CNS) signaling systems. Ongoing and future animal and clinical studies aimed at understanding the microbiota-gut-brain axis may provide novel approaches for prevention and treatment of mental illness, including anxiety and depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Behavior
  • Germ-free
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Microbiota
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Gut-brain axis: How the microbiome influences anxiety and depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this