New study suggests that changes in gut microbes can affect brain regions associated with controlling movement.
For the first time, researchers have found a connection between Parkinson’s disease and microbes living inside the stomach.
By conducting experiments on a mouse model, researchers from multiple institutes have showed how changes in gut microbes can affect the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The findings could lead to better treatments for the brain disorder that continues to worsen over time.
“We have discovered for the first time a biological link between the gut micro-biome and Parkinson’s disease. More generally, this research reveals that a neurodegenerative disease may have its origins in the gut, and not only in the brain as had been previously thought,” said senior study co- author Sarkis Mazmanian from California Institute of Technology.
“The discovery that changes in the micro-biome may be involved in Parkinson’s disease is a paradigm shift and opens entirely new possibilities for treating patients.”
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in United States after dementia. The disease is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of protein called α-synuclein in the brain. The protein affects the brains regions that control the movement of the body, resulting in rigidity, muscle stiffness, shaking and slowness of movement.
Signals from gut microbes are required for the neuroinflammatory responses as well as hallmark gastrointestinal and a-synuclein-dependent motor deficits in a model of Parkinson’s disease.