About this Research Topic
In the last 30 years, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of several neurological disorders in developed countries. Evidences suggest that important changes in environment and lifestyle play a critical role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Particular attention is given to alterations occurring throughout life in gut microbiota, which under normal conditions is known to provide individuals with metabolic and protective functions. Although the presence of live microbes is restricted primarily to mucosal tissues, their impact is evident even in organs like the central nervous system, where they influence immune and neural cell viability and function. Thus, microbiota dysfunction is believed to contribute to increased susceptibility of the host to a variety of immune-mediated diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and multiple sclerosis.
Many investigations suggest that an intact and diverse microbiota is capable to protect individuals from the development of several neurological disorders. Despite the progress made to unravel the importance of gut microbes in modulating both nervous system development and function, little is known about the molecular mechanisms by which they mediate these effects. The prevailing hypothesis is that bacterial products or metabolites, like essential vitamins, amino acids and short-chain fatty acids, can be released into circulation and, as such, are capable to disseminate and affect the brain. Whether this implies the activation of a local pro- or anti-inflammatory response that propagates to the central nervous system through the gut-brain axis, is object of current studies. Results obtained from pre-biotic interventions, as therapeutic tools capable to ameliorate pathological conditions, highlight the importance of nutrition in preventing gut inflammation to impair brain function. However, more investigations are required to better understand how nutrients intake can promote gut microbiota to protect the brain.
The scope of this Research Topic is to provide a state-of-the-art collection of Original Research, Review, Hypothesis and Theory articles on the impact of gut microbiota in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and demyelinating disorders, as well as of neuropsychiatric and behavioural pathologies, like schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and mood disorders, and neurological conditions such as cerebral infarct and spinal cord damage, that have been associated with changes in the gut microbiota. Importantly, we would like also to discuss the neurological effect of intestinal immunological disorders such as Crohn’s disease and Inflammatory Bowel disease. We will accept contributions focusing on, but not limited to, the following themes:
1. Pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms at the basis of the crosstalk between gut microbiota and the nervous system.
2. How gut microbiota alterations affect immune (microglia and infiltrating leukocytes) and neural cell function: involvement of the dietary and probiotic interventions.
3. The ability of bacterial products and/or metabolites in regulating the gut-brain axis in neurological disorders.
Topic Editor Dr. Kasper is co-founder of Symbiotix Biotherapeutics. The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic theme
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.