, Volume 236, Issue 5, pp 1559–1571 | Cite as

The microbiome and cognitive aging: a review of mechanisms

  • Mrudhula Komanduri
  • Shakuntla Gondalia
  • Andrew Scholey
  • Con StoughEmail author


Gut microbiota plays an intrinsic role in communication between the gut and the brain and is capable of influencing the host brain by producing neurotransmitters and neurotrophins, the modulation of inflammatory processes amongst other key mechanisms. Increased age is also associated with changes in these key biological processes and impairments in a range of cognitive processes. We hypothesise several mechanisms in which gut microbiota may modulate changes in cognitive function with age. In this review, we discuss issues related to the measurement of cognition in the elderly and in particular outline a standardised model of cognition that could be utilised to better understand cognitive outcomes in future studies examining the relationship between gut microbiota and cognition in the elderly. We then review biological processes such as oxidative stress and inflammation which are related to cognitive changes with age and which are also influenced by our gut microbiota. Finally, we outline other potential mechanisms by which the gut microbiota may influence cognition.


Gut microbiota Microbiota Cognitive decline Inflammation Oxidative stress ROS 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Human PsychopharmacologySwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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