Neuroinflammation and the Gut Microbiota: Possible Alternative Therapeutic Targets to Counteract Alzheimer's Disease?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex, multi-factorial disease affecting various brain systems. This complexity implies that successful therapies must be directed against several core neuropathological targets rather than single ones. The scientific community has made great efforts to identify the right AD targets beside the historic amyloid-β (Aβ). Neuroinflammation is re-emerging as determinant in the neuropathological process of AD. A new theory, still in its infancy, highlights the role of gut microbiota (GM) in the control of brain development, but also in the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous systems, called gut-brain axes, is largely influenced by GM and the immune system is a potential key mediator of this interaction. Growing evidence points to the role of GM in the maturation and activation of host microglia and peripheral immune cells. Several recent studies have found abnormalities in GM (dysbiosis) in AD populations. These observations raise the intriguing question whether and how GM dysbiosis could contribute to AD development through action on the immune system and whether, in a therapeutic prospective, the development of strategies preserving a healthy GM might become a valuable approach to prevent AD. Here, we review the evidence from animal models and humans of the role of GM in neuroinflammation and AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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