The microbiome gut brain (MGB) axis consists of bidirectional routes of communication between the gut and the brain. It has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for multiple medical specialties including psychiatry. Significant numbers of preclinical trials have taken place with some transitioning to clinical studies in more recent years. Some positive results have been reported secondary to probiotic administration in both healthy populations and specific patient groups. This review aims to summarise the current understanding of the MGB axis and the preclinical and clinical findings relevant to psychiatry. Significant differences have been identified between the microbiome of patients with a diagnosis of depressive disorder and healthy controls. Similar findings have occurred in patients diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. A probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus
, Lactobacillus casei
, and Bifidobacterium bifidum
produced a clinically measurable symptom improvement in patients with depressive disorder. To date, some promising results have suggested that probiotics could play a role in the treatment of stress-related psychiatric disease. However, more well-controlled clinical trials are required to determine which clinical conditions are likely to benefit most significantly from this novel approach.
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