The relationship between epigenetics and microbiota in neuropsychiatric diseases

M. Lozupone, F. D'Urso, C. Piccininni, M.L. Montagna, R. Sardone, E. Resta, V. Dibello, A. Daniele, G. Giannelli, A. Bellomo, F. Panza

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Microbiota might be considered as a pool for environmental epigenetic factors. Evidence is accumulating that environmental exposures - including microbes, diet, drugs - play a role in the pathogenesis of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Underlying mechanisms are complex, involving the sensitive interplay of genetics with epigenetics, neuroinflammation and the innate immune system. Modifications of microbiota affect neurogenesis and the maturation of microglia, influencing social behavior, stress-related responses and fear learning mechanisms. The excitatory neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex appear to play a key role. The mechanisms through which antibiotics administration may modulate microbiota and, therefore, behavior and neuropsychiatric disorders, may be influenced by several variables such as pre-existing gastrointestinal inflammation, the baseline microbiota composition, diet and stress perception. Probiotics, individualized diet, antibiotics and fecal transplantation could positively modulate the effects of epigenetic factors on neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1568
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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