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Inflammation and neurodegeneration are key features of many chronic neurological diseases, yet the causative mechanisms underlying these processes are poorly understood. There has been mounting interest in the role of the human microbiome in modulating the inflammatory milieu of the central nervous system (CNS) in health and disease. To date, most research has focussed on a gut-brain axis, with other mucosal surfaces being relatively neglected. We herein take the novel approach of comprehensively reviewing the roles of the microbiome across several key mucosal interfaces - the nose, mouth, lung and gut - in health and in Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). This review systematically appraises the anatomical and microbiological landscape of each mucosal surface in health and disease before considering relevant mechanisms that may influence the initiation and progression of PD, AD and MS. The cumulative effects of dysbiosis from the nose to the gut may contribute significantly to neurological disease through a wide variety of mechanisms, including direct translocation of bacteria and their products, and modulation of systemic or CNS-specific immunity. This remains an understudied and exciting area for future research and may lead to the development of therapeutic targets for chronic neurological disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol

Publication Date





195 - 215


Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, inflammation, microbiome, multiple sclerosis, neurodegeneration