Special Issue

Substance Abuse and the Microbiome

About this Special Issue

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to excessive use of agents that cause harm to self, society, or both. Some of the commonly used substances of abuse include: Opioids, Cocaine, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana and alcohol. Substance abuse can lead to addiction thereby triggering significant negative effects on the brain and the body. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract harbors a complex array of microorganisms, called the gut microbiota which play a critical role in regulating homeostasis in the body and disease. Extensive use of next‐generation sequencing technology has enabled the discovery of how dysbiosis caused by environmental factors can impact the development and severity of many clinical disorders. Such studies have also led to the detection of gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication pathway between the Central Nervous System and the Gastrointestinal System in which the gut microbiota play a critical role. The gut microbiota can regulate the brain functions through microbial metabolites, including the short-chain fatty acids which can cross the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, the brain can regulate the gut microbiota through neural, endocrine and cytokine pathways. How does substance abuse fit into the complex cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the brain? This is an exciting area of research that is drawing a lot of attention. Some substances of abuse such as alcohol have already been shown to cause dysbiosis which may influence alcoholic liver disease through leaky gut. Such findings also raise an exciting possibility of using probiotics, reversing dysbiosis, or fecal microbiota transplantation as a therapeutic modality to reverse the negative impacts of substance abuse.

This Special Issue is focused on how substance use disorder can alter gut microbiota and impact functions of the Central Nervous and other organ systems. It is also the goal to explore how stabilization of gut microbiota can prevent the negative effects of substance abuse.

The Editors welcome Original Research articles, Reviews, as well as other article types accepted by the journal.
We will accept both research and review articles.

Topics of interest include but not limited to:
• The effect of substance abuse on gut microbiome
• Role of gut dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of substance use disorders
• Gut-brain axis as it relates to substance abuse
• Interplay between addiction and microbiota
• Use of probiotics, prebiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and the like to prevent or treat substance abuse disorder
• Gut barrier, microbiota and liver or other organ disease
• Interactions between nervous system, immune system and gut microbiota
• Interplay between substance abuse, increased susceptibility to infections and microbiota
• Role of gut dysbiosis on behavioral response to substance abuse
• Gut-Liver-Microbiome Axis and substance abuse
• Therapeutic interventions to alleviate gut-brain axis impairments


Keywords: substance abuse, microbiome, microbiota, gut-brain axis, drug abuse, addiction, alcohol abuse


Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to excessive use of agents that cause harm to self, society, or both. Some of the commonly used substances of abuse include: Opioids, Cocaine, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana and alcohol. Substance abuse can lead to addiction thereby triggering significant negative effects on the brain and the body. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract harbors a complex array of microorganisms, called the gut microbiota which play a critical role in regulating homeostasis in the body and disease. Extensive use of next‐generation sequencing technology has enabled the discovery of how dysbiosis caused by environmental factors can impact the development and severity of many clinical disorders. Such studies have also led to the detection of gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication pathway between the Central Nervous System and the Gastrointestinal System in which the gut microbiota play a critical role. The gut microbiota can regulate the brain functions through microbial metabolites, including the short-chain fatty acids which can cross the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, the brain can regulate the gut microbiota through neural, endocrine and cytokine pathways. How does substance abuse fit into the complex cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the brain? This is an exciting area of research that is drawing a lot of attention. Some substances of abuse such as alcohol have already been shown to cause dysbiosis which may influence alcoholic liver disease through leaky gut. Such findings also raise an exciting possibility of using probiotics, reversing dysbiosis, or fecal microbiota transplantation as a therapeutic modality to reverse the negative impacts of substance abuse.

This Special Issue is focused on how substance use disorder can alter gut microbiota and impact functions of the Central Nervous and other organ systems. It is also the goal to explore how stabilization of gut microbiota can prevent the negative effects of substance abuse.

The Editors welcome Original Research articles, Reviews, as well as other article types accepted by the journal.
We will accept both research and review articles.

Topics of interest include but not limited to:
• The effect of substance abuse on gut microbiome
• Role of gut dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of substance use disorders
• Gut-brain axis as it relates to substance abuse
• Interplay between addiction and microbiota
• Use of probiotics, prebiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and the like to prevent or treat substance abuse disorder
• Gut barrier, microbiota and liver or other organ disease
• Interactions between nervous system, immune system and gut microbiota
• Interplay between substance abuse, increased susceptibility to infections and microbiota
• Role of gut dysbiosis on behavioral response to substance abuse
• Gut-Liver-Microbiome Axis and substance abuse
• Therapeutic interventions to alleviate gut-brain axis impairments


Keywords: substance abuse, microbiome, microbiota, gut-brain axis, drug abuse, addiction, alcohol abuse


Issue Editors

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Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Special Issue via the following journals:

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Issue Editors

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Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Special Issue via the following journals:

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