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Wrapping Things Up: Recent Developments in Understanding the Role of the Microbiome in Regulating Myelination

Lynch CMK, Nagpal J, Clarke G, Cryan JF. (2021)  Current Opinion in Physiology   

Web URL: Read this article via Current Opinioin in Physiology here


The last decade has witnessed a dramatic rise in the field of microbiota-gut-brain axis research, with strong evidence linking the composition of the gut microbiota with the structure and function of the brain.  Emerging evidence highlights the crucial role of gut microbiota in orchestrating central nervous system (CNS) myelination. However, the mechanistic relationship between the gut microbiota and regulation of myelination throughout life remains poorly understood.

In this review, we summarise current state-of-the-art research investigating microbiota-gut-brain axis communication and its association with CNS myelination.

We first discuss recent studies supporting bidirectional communication between the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Recent evidence implicating the microbiota-gut-brain axis crosstalk in myelination and proposed potential mechanisms of microbial modulation are then evaluated. Finally, we discuss the implications of disturbed microbiota-gut-brain axis signalling, its association with myelin-related anomalies in terms of demyelination, and the therapeutic potential of regenerative remyelination.


  • The developmental trajectory of the gut microbiota coincides with key periods of myelination and the onset of numerous neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • The microbiota-gut-brain axis facilitates bidirectional communication via multiple pathways including the immune system, neuroendocrine system, autonomic nervous system, and metabolic pathways.
  • Myelinating glial cells, oligodendrocytes, are susceptible to microbial influence.
  • Dysregulation of the microbiota-gut-brain axis may result in the modification of complex neuronal circuits with implications for the development and treatment of myelin-associated pathologies.




For more new findings from this world-leading research group, see also:

See also the associated news article, which provides the background and context to this research.

And for more information on the links between gut and brain health, see: