- Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, ItalyInterests: inflammation; neuroinflammation; gut-brain axis; microbiota; mast cells; depressionSpecial Issues and Topics in IMR Press journalsSpecial Issue in Molecular Mechanisms in Anxiety and Depression
The gut-immune-brain axis plays a crucial but still poorly defined role in the etiology of many neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. The gut microbiota also plays a role in the development of brain regions and is thought to influence human behavior and brain function. Studies have indicated a causal link between alteration of the intestinal microbiota and the onset and progression of neurodegenerative/neuroinflammatory diseases. Moreover, psychiatric and neurological disorders have been associated with changes in the gut microbiota. The gut-brain axis can also have significant effects on anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain, autism, and cognitive function. The central, autonomic and enteric nervous systems, together with the immune and endocrine systems, work together to ensure the correct functioning of the intestine-brain axis.
Dysregulation of the gut-brain axis can occur through a complex bidirectional communication system and a series of events such as changes in intestinal permeability, production of neuromodulatory compounds, and activation of the enteric nervous system, peripheral immune system, microglia and astrocytes. This in turn can lead to defects in neural network development, function, atrophy and, ultimately, to diseases of the central nervous system.
Prof. Dr. Giovanna Traina
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