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S35: Probiotic Nutritional and Pharmabiotic Interventions of the Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis: an Integrative and Systems Biology View

13:30 - 14:30, Orchid CD, Terrace Level

Linda Duffy (1), John Bienenstock (2), Kirsten Tillisch (3)

(1): National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), United States   

(2): McMaster University,Hamilton Ontario

(3): University of California, Los Angeles 


Gut microbiota are increasingly recognized as influencing many aspects of human health. Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiota also influences brain function and may have a role in anxiety, mood, and cognitive behaviors, neurophysiology and neurochemistry. The abundance and complexity of symbiotic host-microbial interactions contributes to the fitness of human well-being under varying ecologic conditions. Whether this translates to microbial-based CNS nutritional and biotherapeutic interventions remains an intriguing possibility and one that is worthy of much further investigation. For example, commensal strains of bacteria in animals has been shown to reduce anxiety and change the presence and activity of receptors in certain brain regions which are associated with anxious and depressive-like behaviors. A unique view of the symposium is the emerging ecologic and systems biology perspective available with novel cellular and molecular based technologies. Preliminary evidence suggests that administration of selected keystone eco-stabilizers as probiotic interventions can also modulate various aspects of brain function, some of which are vagus dependent. Ingestion of lactic acid bacteria [LAB] selected strains can decrease anxiety and reduce stress-induced increases of plasma corticosterone levels in mice. LAB strains also have been shown to alter the mRNA expression of GABA and GABA receptors in several brain regions. These preliminary findings suggest that parasympathetic innervation is necessary for probiotic effects to functionally alter select microbiota-brain interactions. However, the strains with the most translational impact need to be carried out longitudinally in RCT safety studies under tight regulatory INDs to examine if there are systematic changes that correlate with anxiety, stress and other brain behavior conditions.

Panel Time Format

1:30 pm              Introductory Remarks
Co-Chairs: Linda Duffy, PhD and Partap Khalsa, DC, PhD

1:35 pm              John Bienenstock, M.D., Ph.D.
                           Distinguished University Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine,
                            McMaster, University,  Hamilton Ontario

1:55 pm              Kirsten Tillisch, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
                           David Geffen School of Medicine,

                           University of California, Los Angeles

2:20 pm              Linda Duffy, Ph.D., MPH
                           Scientific Chair, NIH DNRC/NCC-Probiotics/Prebiotics Workgroup
                           Program Director, NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2:25 pm              Final Q&A