The Microbiome in Neurogastroenterology

  • Geoffrey A. Preidis
  • Bruno P. Chumpitazi
  • Robert J. ShulmanEmail author


Gut microbes are essential to the normal development and function of the enteric nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. The simple microbiome of infancy gradually matures into a rich and diverse adult intestinal microbial ecosystem that supports the development of normal sensorimotor function. Microbial factors that modulate intestinal motility include secreted and intrinsic cell wall toxins, neurotransmitter and hormone analogs, short-chain fatty acids, and deconjugated bile acids. On the other hand, microbiome composition and function is affected by host factors including gastrointestinal transit time, physiologic stress, and diet. Gut microbes also activate neuronal pathways that transmit signals to the central nervous system that influence pain perception, stress response, and behavior. Adults and children with irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders have altered gut microbial community composition, although it is not yet known whether these changes result from or contribute to pathology. Therapeutic trials of probiotics, prebiotics, antibiotics, or restriction of fermentable carbohydrates show promise to treat functional gastrointestinal disorders, although not enough evidence exists to recommend specific species, strains, or therapies for individual patients or disorders. As our knowledge regarding mechanisms of communication along the brain-gut-microbiome axis increases, the prospect of treating functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract by strategically manipulating the microbiome moves closer to reality.


Functional gastrointestinal disorders Intestinal motility Irritable bowel syndrome Metabolomics Metagenomics Next-generation sequencing Prebiotics Probiotics Small bowel bacterial overgrowth Microbiome in neurogastroenterology Neurogastroenterology and the microbiome Gastrointestinal microbiome Microbiota Brain-gut axis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey A. Preidis
    • 1
  • Bruno P. Chumpitazi
    • 1
  • Robert J. Shulman
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of PediatricsBaylor College of Medicine, and Texas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA

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