Bacterial Neuroactive Compounds Produced by Psychobiotics

  • Rebecca Wall
  • John F. CryanEmail author
  • R. Paul Ross
  • Gerald F. Fitzgerald
  • Timothy G. Dinan
  • Catherine StantonEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 817)


We recently coined the phrase ‘psychobiotics’ to describe an emerging class of probiotics of relevance to psychiatry [Dinan et al., Biol Psychiatry 2013;74(10):720–726]. Such “mind-altering” probiotics may act via their ability to produce various biologically active compounds, such as peptides and mediators normally associated with mammalian neurotransmission. Several molecules with neuroactive functions such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, catecholamines and acetylcholine have been reported to be microbially-derived, many of which have been isolated from bacteria within the human gut. Secreted neurotransmitters from bacteria in the intestinal lumen may induce epithelial cells to release molecules that in turn modulate neural signalling within the enteric nervous system and consequently signal brain function and behaviour of the host. Consequently, neurochemical containing/producing probiotic bacteria may be viewed as delivery vehicles for neuroactive compounds and as such, probiotic bacteria may possibly have the potential as a therapeutic strategy in the prevention and/or treatment of certain neurological and neurophysiological conditions.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Conjugate Linoleic Acid Short Chain Fatty Acid Enteric Nervous System Probiotic Bacterium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





Arachidonic acid


Autism spectrum disorders


Conjugated linoleic acid


Central nervous system


Docosahexaenoic acid


Gamma-aminobutyric acid


Glutamate decarboxylase




Gastrointestinal tract


Indole-3-propionic acid


Lactic acid bacteria


Long-chain fatty acid


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma


Short chain fatty acid


Tumor necrosis factor



This work was supported by the Science Foundation of Ireland—funded Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Wall
    • 1
  • John F. Cryan
    • 2
    Email author
  • R. Paul Ross
    • 1
  • Gerald F. Fitzgerald
    • 3
  • Timothy G. Dinan
    • 4
  • Catherine Stanton
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, Teagasc Moorepark Food Research CentreCorkIreland
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and NeuroscienceUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  3. 3.Microbiology and Alimentary Pharmabiotic CentreUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  4. 4.University College CorkCorkIreland

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