Human microbiome research sheds light on psychiatric disease

On the search for gene variants underlying psychopathology, a recent article in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry discusses the lack of success of GWAS and GxE studies to pinpoint genetic determinants of depression. But new findings reveal that our gut microbes are critical players in determining susceptibility to depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders; for example, numerous publications report that antibiotics and probiotics influence CNS disease symptoms. Ongoing studies like the crowd-sourcedAmerican Gut project aim to gather meta-genomic data on microbiome populations – opening new frontiers to study the biological basis of mental illness.

Must Read articles

Wang & Caspar. The role of microbiome in central nervous system disorders. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 May;38:1-12.
Dunn et al. Genetic determinants of depression: recent findings and future directions. Harv Rev Psychiatry 2015 Jan-Feb;23(1):1-18. 2014 May;38:1-12

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