Intersections of the microbiome and early neurodevelopment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Our resident microbes influence nearly all aspects of our biological systems. In particular, the maternal and early life microbiota is uniquely positioned to influence the development of the nervous system, and alterations to the gut microbiota, or dysbiosis, during this critical time in early life can have long-lasting negative effects on health. The question of how the maternal and early life microbiota shapes neurodevelopment is the topic of numerous investigations. Here, we discuss two possible, but not necessarily independent, hypotheses: (1) the maternal microbiota during pregnancy regulates the metabolites that are important for fetal development, (2) maternal microbiota seeded to offspring at birth and early postnatal days programs offspring immune and brain development, and regulates key molecules for postnatal brain development. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the impact of the microbiota on brain and behavior, introduce the maternal gut and vaginal microbiome during pregnancy, and discuss current understandings of microbiome in the context of developmental origins of health and disease. We consider novel translational insights that harness the multitude of microbes and microbial metabolites for prevention or treatment of neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicrobiome in Neurological Disease
EditorsTimothy R. Sampson
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780323991766
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)0074-7742
ISSN (Electronic)2162-5514

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Maternal microbiome Brain development Behavioral neuroscience Microbial metabolites

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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