Sex differences are often observed in psychiatric patients, especially major depressive disorders (MDD), schizophrenia, and developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The prevalence rates between males and females seem variate according to the clinical condition. Although the findings are still incipient, it is suggested that these differences can involve neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and physiological sex differences. In this context, the microbiota-gut-brain axis hypothesis arises to explain some aspects of the complex pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. The microbiota composition is host-specific and can change conforming to age, sex, diet, medication, exercise, and others. The communication between the brain and the gut is bidirectional and may impact the entire system homeostasis. Many pathways appear to be involved, including neuroanatomic communication, neuroendocrine pathways, immune system, bacteria-derived metabolites, hormones, neurotransmitters, and neurotrophic factors. Although the clinical and preclinical studies are sparse and not very consistent, they suggest that sex differences in the gut microbiota may play an essential role in some neuropsychiatric conditions. Thus, this narrative review has as a mainly aim to show the points sex-related patterns associated to the gut-microbiota-brain axis in the MDD, ASDs, and schizophrenia.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.