Is there a 'gut-brain-skin axis'?

Petra Arck, Bori Handjiski, Evelin Hagen, Maike Pincus, Christian Bruenahl, John Bienenstock, Ralf Paus

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence arising from interdisciplinary research supports the occurrence of communication axes between organs, such as the brain-gut or brain-skin axis. The latter is employed in response to stress challenge, along which neurogenic skin inflammation and hair growth inhibition is mediated. We now show that ingestion of a Lactobacillus strain in mice dampens stress-induced neurogenic skin inflammation and the hair growth inhibition. In conclusion, we are introducing a hypothesis, encouraged by our pilot observations and resting upon published prior evidence from the literature, which amalgamates previously proposed partial concepts into a new, unifying model, i.e. the gut-brain-skin axis. This concept suggests that modulation of the microbiome by deployment of probiotics can not only greatly reduce stress-induced neurogenic skin inflammation but even affect a very complex cutaneous phenomenon of (mini-) organ transformation, i.e. hair follicle cycling. These observations raise the intriguing prospect that feeding of just the right kind of bacteria can exert profound beneficial effects on skin homoeostasis, skin inflammation, hair growth and peripheral tissue responses to perceived stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-405
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Allostasis
  • Hair follicle
  • Immunity
  • Lactobacillus
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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