FEB 22, 2017 09:00 AM PST

The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis: Linking Gastrointestinal and Neurobehavioral Processes in Autism Spectrum Disorder

C.E. CREDITS: P.A.C.E. CE | Florida CE
  • Director, Medical Metagenomics Texas Children's Microbiome Center Texas Children's Hospital Assistant Professor Baylor College of Medicine
      Dr. Ruth Ann Luna serves as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Immunology of Baylor College of Medicine and as Director of Medical Metagenomics within the Texas Children's Microbiome Center at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Luna directs the next-generation sequencing efforts of the Texas Children's Microbiome Center and focuses on multi-omic profiling in a variety of body sites and disease populations. Dr. Luna is a member of the Institutional Review Board of Baylor College of Medicine and is active in clinical research. As principal investigator of two ongoing studies, she is exploring the gastrointestinal and neurobehavioral aspects of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with specific emphases on the gut microbiome and metabolome, as well as the impact of antibiotic treatment on the core symptoms of ASD.


    Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are now widely recognized as a clinical symptom of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and research into the microbiome-gut-brain axis is beginning to reveal the interconnectivity between GI pain and potential behavioral challenges. Emerging data on the gut microbiome in ASD has also suggested that altered host-microbe interactions may contribute to disease symptoms. Here, we will discuss the history of the relationship between the microbiome and ASD, including more recent publications that have identified distinct microbiome-neuroimmune signatures in ASD as well as demonstrated the potential efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation. While in-depth studies of the gut microbiome in ASD that are underway will generate the critical mass of data needed as a comparison dataset, a case study will be presented to illustrate the benefit of longitudinal sampling of a single patient in parallel with collection of clinical metadata (behavioral, gastrointestinal, and dietary).

    Learning Objective 1: Explain the potential role of the gut-brain axis in ASD

    Learning Objective 2: Describe how changes in the microbiome correlate with changes in behavior

    Learning Objective 3: Identify diagnostic and therapeutic potential of microbiome characterization and microbial manipulation

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