Saturday, 4 October 2014

The gut-brain axis and schizophrenia

A micropost to direct your attention to the recent paper by Katlyn Nemani and colleagues [1] titled: 'Schizophrenia and the gut-brain axis'. Mentioning words like that, I couldn't resist offering a little exposure to this review and opinion piece, drawing on what seems to be some renewed research interest in work started by pioneers such as the late Curt Dohan [2].

The usual triad of gastrointestinal (GI) variables - gut barrier, gut bacteria and gut immune function - are mentioned in the article, concluding that: "A significant subgroup of patients may benefit from the initiation of a gluten and casein-free diet" among other things. Not a million miles away from related suggestions when it comes to something like the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) (see here) bearing in mind the concept of overlapping spectrums (see here) and the [plural] schizophrenias.

I'm also minded to hat-tip another research team including Emily Severance and colleagues who are going great guns when it comes to the whole GI-food link in cases of schizophrenia and beyond (see here for my recent discussion of some of her work). Another of her quite recent papers [3] on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of antibody response to wheat gluten and bovine milk in first-episode schizophrenia represents another master-class of research in this area. Their suggestion of potential evidence for a leaky blood-CSF barrier is something else which might stimulate further research in this area including some mention for the molecular handyperson that is melatonin among other things to "protect against blood-brain barrier and choroid plexus pathologies". Such findings might also be relevant for other CSF issues reported with schizophrenia in mind (see here).

And whilst we're talking all-things biological membrane permeability and schizophrenia, I'll also link to the paper by Julio-Pieper and colleagues [4] (open-access) reviewing some of the evidence on the 'controversial association' between intestinal barrier dysfunction and various conditions (also covering some of the literature with autism in mind too). Mainstream here we come?


[1] Nemani K. et al. Schizophrenia and the gut-brain axis. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Sep 17. pii: S0278-5846(14)00168-7

[2] Dohan FC. Cereals and schizophrenia data and hypothesis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 1966; 42: 125–152.

[3] Severance EG. et al. IgG dynamics of dietary antigens point to cerebrospinal fluid barrier or flow dysfunction in first-episode schizophrenia. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Sep 17. pii: S0889-1591(14)00462-0.

[4] Julio-Pieper M. et al. Review article: intestinal barrier dysfunction and central nervous system disorders - a controversial association. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Sep 28.

---------- Nemani, K., Ghomi, R., McCormick, B., & Fan, X. (2014). Schizophrenia and the gut–brain axis Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.08.018