†These authors contributed equally.
Focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury is closely related to hyperglycemia and gut microbiota imbalance, while gut microbiota contributes to the regulation of brain function through the gut-brain axis. Previous studies in patients with diabetes have found that 'yam gruel' is a classic medicated diet made from Dioscorea polystachya, increases the content of Bifidobacterium, regulates oxidative stress, and reduces fasting blood glucose levels. The research reported here investigated the effects of 'yam gruel' on the cognitive function of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury and explored the mechanism underlying the role of the gut-brain axis in this process. 'Yam gruel' was shown to improve cognitive function as indicated by increased relative content of probiotic bacteria, and short-chain fatty acids in the intestinal tract and cerebral cortex reduced oxidative stress and inflammatory response and promotion of the expression of neurotransmitters and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Thus, it is concluded that 'yam gruel' has a protective effect on cognitive function via a mechanism related to the gut-brain axis.