Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis Disorder

Virginia Saurman, Kara G. Margolis, Ruth Ann Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


While there are numerous medical comorbidities associated with ASD, gastrointestinal (GI) issues have a significant impact on quality of life for these individuals. Recent findings continue to support the relationship between the gut microbiome and both GI symptoms and behavior, but the heterogeneity within the autism spectrum requires in-depth clinical characterization of these clinical cohorts. Large, diverse, well-controlled studies in this area of research are still needed. Although there is still much to discover about the brain-gut-microbiome axis in ASD, microbially mediated therapies, specifically probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation have shown promise in the treatment of GI symptoms in ASD, with potential benefit to the core behavioral symptoms of ASD as well. Future research and clinical trials must increasingly consider complex phenotypes in ASD in stratification of large datasets as well as in design of inclusion criteria for individual therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-828
Number of pages11
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Brain-gut axis
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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