The gut microbiota and autism spectrum disorders

Qinrui Li, Ying Han, Angel Belle C. Dy, Randi J Hagerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are a common comorbidity in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Many studies have shown alterations in the composition of the fecal flora and metabolic products of the gut microbiome in patients with ASD. The gut microbiota influences brain development and behaviors through the neuroendocrine, neuroimmune and autonomic nervous systems. In addition, an abnormal gut microbiota is associated with several diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ASD and mood disorders. Here, we review the bidirectional interactions between the central nervous systemand the gastrointestinal tract (brain-gut axis) and the role of the gut microbiota in the central nervous system (CNS) and ASD. Microbiome-mediated therapies might be a safe and effective treatment for ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - Apr 28 2017


  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Brain-gut axis
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)
  • Gut microbiota
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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