A systematic review of microbiome changes and impact of probiotic supplementation in children and adolescents with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Anna N. Ligezka, A. Irem Sonmez, Martha P. Corral-Frias, Raphael Golebiowski, Brian Lynch, Paul E. Croarkin, Magdalena Romanowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: In recent decades, the diagnostic and therapeutic implications of the microbiome changes and the impact of probiotic supplementation have increased rapidly. However, the potential for clinical translation of microbiome research for children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders is unclear. This review examined available evidence related to gut microbiota as well as the impact of probiotic supplementation on psychiatric disorders in the pediatric population reported to date. Methods: We performed a literature search for the gut microbiota in child and adolescent population (0–18 years old) with mental health disorders from July 1999 through July 2019 in several databases: ClinicalTrials.gov, Ovid EBM Reviews, Ovid Embase, Ovid Medline, Ovid PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science. Results: A total of 7 studies met inclusion criteria consisting of randomized controlled trials and cohort studies that examined various associations between psychiatric disorders and gut microbiota in youth. Six studies examined the effects of various treatment interventions such as probiotic supplementation on microbiota composition and behaviors. One study showed an increase in prosocial behavior in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and an increase in the Lachnospiraceae family following prebiotic supplementation. Another study suggested that prebiotic supplementation increased bifidobacterial populations for ASD and healthy controls. A study evaluating infant supplementation of prebiotics showed both a decreased likelihood of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or ASD and decreased gut Bifidobacterium. One study did not find significant differences in microbiome composition after micronutrient treatment. Conclusion: The main goal of this systematic review was to comprehensively examine and summarize the current evidence focused on the potential effect of the relationship between microbiota gut composition as well as the effects of probiotic supplementation on psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. This is a relatively new area of research and the number of included studies is limited. More studies are needed to determine whether gut dysbiosis leads to the development and/or contributes to the severity of mental disorders or whether gut dysbiosis is a result of other processes that accompany mental disorders. Clinical significance: A better understanding of the specific bacteria contributions, gut-brain pathways, and role in pathophysiological mechanisms in neuropsychiatric disorders in the child and adolescent populations can possibly provide alternative tools for a clinical psychiatrist. Moreover, it may ultimately aid the clinician with intervention strategies, or detect populations at risk for developing neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110187
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jun 8 2021


  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Children
  • Depression
  • Gut microbiota
  • Infants
  • Mental health
  • Neuropsychiatric disorder
  • Phobia
  • Probiotic supplementation
  • Teenagers
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'A systematic review of microbiome changes and impact of probiotic supplementation in children and adolescents with neuropsychiatric disorders.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this