Can we 'seize' the gut microbiota to treat epilepsy?

Carmen De Caro, Luigi Francesco Iannone, Rita Citraro, Pasquale Striano, Giovambattista De Sarro, Andrew Constanti, John F Cryan, Emilio Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The gut-microbiota, the complex intestinal microbial ecosystem essential to health, is an emerging concept in medicine. Several studies demonstrate a microbiota-gut-brain bidirectional connection via neural, endocrine, metabolic and immune pathways. Accordingly, the gut microbiota has a crucial role in modulating intestinal permeability, to alter local/peripheral immune responses and in production of essential metabolites and neurotransmitters. Its alterations may consequently influence all these pathways that contribute to neuronal hyper-excitability and mirrored neuroinflammation in epilepsy and similarly other neurological conditions. Indeed, pre- and clinical studies support the role of the microbiome in pathogenesis, seizure modulation and responses to treatment in epilepsy. Up to now, researchers have focussed attention above all on the brain to develop antiepileptic treatments, but considering the microbiome, could extend our possibilities for developing novel therapies in the future. We provide here a comprehensive overview of the available data on the potential role of gut microbiota in the physiopathology and therapy of epilepsy and the supposed underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-764
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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