The gut microbiome — the largest reservoir of microorganisms of the human body — is emerging as an important player in neurodevelopment and ageing as well as in brain diseases including stroke, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The growing knowledge on mediators and triggered pathways has advanced our understanding of the interactions along the gut-brain axis. Gut bacteria produce neuroactive compounds and can modulate neuronal function, plasticity and behavior. Furthermore, intestinal microorganisms impact the host's metabolism and immune status which in turn affect neuronal pathways in the enteric and central nervous systems. Here, we discuss the recent insights from human studies and animal models on the bi-directional communication along the microbiome-gut-brain axis in both acute and chronic brain diseases.