Background: The underlying pathophysiology of schizophrenia still remains
elusive. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify novel targets for the development of new
interventions and elucidate related biomarkers for the identification and monitoring of potentially
responsive patients. In this sense, several hypotheses involving immune/inflammatory
changes and the consequent oxidative/nitrosative stress, as well as a dysregulation in the
immuno-inflammatory response have come into sight.
Methods: Considering the great amount of genes encoded by the microbiome and the evidences
pointing to the potential role of the gut microbiota on several neurologic and psychiatric
diseases, the aim of this review is to evaluate the possible role of these organisms in the
immunopathogenesis of schizophrenia. To that end, we will focus not only on gut microbiota
dysbiosis but also on bacterial translocation as an inductor of neuroinflammation.
Results: Studies have shown that the gut microbiota may play a key role in the immunopathogenesis of schizophrenia
and that essential pathways implicated in the etiopathophysiology of schizophrenia are also regulated by
the microbiota-gut-brain (MGB) axis. Moreover, studies also indicate a possible role of the innate immunity
through the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their activation by bacterial translocation, as a consequence of intestinal
dysfunction, in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders.
Conclusion: This is a promising area of investigation with huge potential to offer advances in the realm of personalized
medicine and accordingly, future research should examine several microbiota-targeted therapies in
order to improve symptoms and to decrease the immune dysregulation seen in patients with schizophrenia.