A systematic review on the role of microbiota in the pathogenesis and treatment of eating disorders


Main idea: Microbiota homeostasis seems essential for a healthy communication network between gut and brain. Dysbiosis may promote intestinal inflammation, alter gut permeability, and trigger immune reactions in the hunger/satiety regulation center contributing to the pathophysiological development of eating disorders. A restored microbial balance may be a possible treatment target for eating disorders.


There is growing interest in new factors contributing to the genesis of eating disorders. Research recently focused on the study of microbiota. Dysbiosis, associated with a specific genetic susceptibility, may contribute to the development of eating disorders. Diet seems to have an impact not only on the modification of the gut microbiota but also on its recovery.

Sixteen studies were observed in this review, mostly regarding anorexia nervosa. affective symptoms and eating disorders psychopathology seem related to changes in gut microbiota. Microbiota-derived proteins stimulated the autoimmune system, altering neuroendocrine control of mood and satiety in eating disorders. Microbial richness increased in anorexia nervosa after weight regains on fecal microbiota transplantation.


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