Synchronizing our clocks as we age: The influence of the brain-gut-immune axis on the sleep-wake cycle across the lifespan

Marissa Sgro, Zoe N. Kodila, Rhys D. Brady, Amy C. Reichelt, Richelle Mychaisuk, Glenn R. Yamakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The microbes that colonize the small and large intestines, known as the gut microbiome, play an integral role in optimal brain development and function. The gut microbiome is a vital component of the bidirectional communication pathway between the brain, immune system, and gut, also known as the brain-gut-immune axis. To date, there has been minimal investigation into the implications of improper development of the gut microbiome and the brain-gut-immune axis on the sleep-wake cycle, particularly during sensitive periods of physical and neurological development, such as childhood, adolescence, and senescence. Therefore, this review will explore the current literature surrounding the overlapping developmental periods of the gut microbiome, brain, and immune system from birth through to senescence, while highlighting how the brain-gut-immune axis affects the maturation and organization of the sleep-wake cycle. We also examine how a dysfunction to either the microbiome or the sleep-wake cycle negatively affects the bidirectional relationship between the brain and gut, and subsequently the overall health and functionality of this complex system. Additionally, this review integrates therapeutic studies to demonstrate when dietary manipulations, such as supplementation with probiotics and prebiotics, can modulate the gut microbiome to enhance the health of the brain-gut-immune axis and optimize our sleep-wake cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsab268
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • adolescence
  • circadian
  • microbiome
  • neurodevelopment
  • senescence

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