Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis Regulation of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Author: Katherine E Guzzetta1,2, John F Cryan1,2, Olivia F O'Leary1,2
1 APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
2 Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
Conference/Journal: Brain Plast
Date published: 2022 Oct 21
Other: Volume ID: 8 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 97-119 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3233/BPL-220141. , Word Count: 269

The birth, maturation, and integration of new neurons in the adult hippocampus regulates specific learning and memory processes, responses to stress, and antidepressant treatment efficacy. This process of adult hippocampal neurogenesis is sensitive to environmental stimuli, including peripheral signals from certain cytokines, hormones, and metabolites, which can promote or hinder the production and survival of new hippocampal neurons. The trillions of microorganisms resident to the gastrointestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiota, also demonstrate the ability to modulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis. In doing so, the microbiota-gut-brain axis can influence brain functions regulated by adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Unlike the hippocampus, the gut microbiota is highly accessible to direct interventions, such as prebiotics, probiotics, and antibiotics, and can be manipulated by lifestyle choices including diet. Therefore, understanding the pathways by which the gut microbiota shapes hippocampal neurogenesis may reveal novel targets for non-invasive therapeutics to treat disorders in which alterations in hippocampal neurogenesis have been implicated. This review first outlines the factors which influence both the gut microbiome and adult hippocampal neurogenesis, with cognizance that these effects might happen either independently or due to microbiota-driven mechanisms. We then highlight approaches for investigating the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis by the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Finally, we summarize the current evidence demonstrating the gut microbiota's ability to influence adult hippocampal neurogenesis, including mechanisms driven through immune pathways, microbial metabolites, endocrine signalling, and the nervous system, and postulate implications for these effects in disease onset and treatment.

Keywords: Gut microbiome; antidepressant; cognition; diet; gut microbiota; hippocampal neurogenesis; hippocampus; immune; microbiota-gut-brain axis; neurogenesis; probiotic; short-chain fatty acid; stress; vagus nerve.

PMID: 36448039 PMCID: PMC9661352 DOI: 10.3233/BPL-220141