Gut dysbiosis, defective autophagy and altered immune responses in neurodegenerative diseases: Tales of a vicious cycle

Saravana Babu Chidambaram*, Musthafa Mohamed Essa, A. G. Rathipriya, Muhammed Bishir, Bipul Ray, Arehally M. Mahalakshmi, A. H. Tousif, Meena K. Sakharkar, Rajpal Singh Kashyap, Robert P. Friedland, Tanya M. Monaghan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The human microbiota comprises trillions of symbiotic microorganisms and is involved in regulating gastrointestinal (GI), immune, nervous system and metabolic homeostasis. Recent observations suggest a bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain via immune, circulatory and neural pathways, termed the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA). Alterations in gut microbiota composition, such as seen with an increased number of pathobionts and a decreased number of symbionts, termed gut dysbiosis or microbial intestinal dysbiosis, plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS)-related disorders. Clinical reports confirm that GI symptoms often precede neurological symptoms several years before the development of neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). Pathologically, gut dysbiosis disrupts the integrity of the intestinal barrier leading to ingress of pathobionts and toxic metabolites into the systemic circulation causing GBA dysregulation. Subsequently, chronic neuroinflammation via dysregulated immune activation triggers the accumulation of neurotoxic misfolded proteins in and around CNS cells resulting in neuronal death. Emerging evidence links gut dysbiosis to the aggravation and/or spread of proteinopathies from the peripheral nervous system to the CNS and defective autophagy-mediated proteinopathies. This review summarizes the current understanding of the role of gut microbiota in NDDs, and highlights a vicious cycle of gut dysbiosis, immune-mediated chronic neuroinflammation, impaired autophagy and proteinopathies, which contributes to the development of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. We also discuss novel therapeutic strategies targeting the modulation of gut dysbiosis through prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics or dietary interventions, and faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) in the management of NDDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107988
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Dysbiosis
  • Gut microbiota
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Proteinopathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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