Gut-oriented disease modifying therapy for Parkinson's disease

J Formos Med Assoc. 2023 Jan;122(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2022.09.010. Epub 2022 Sep 29.


Neuropathology studies have shown that the pathognomonic feature of Parkinson's disease (PD), one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, may start from the gut enteric nervous system and then spread to the central dopaminergic neurons through the gut-brain axis. With the advent of metagenomic sequencing and metabolomic analysis, a plethora of evidence has revealed different gut microbiomes and gut metabolites in patients with PD compared with unaffected controls. Currently, although dopaminergic treatments and deep brain stimulation can provide some symptomatic benefits for motor symptoms of the disease, their long-term use is problematic. A mechanism-targeted therapy to halt the neurodegeneration is lacking. The recently observed gut microenvironmental changes in the early stages of the disease play a vital role in the PD pathogenesis. Patients whose disease begins in the gut may benefit most from interventions that target the gut microenvironments. In this review, we will summarize the current studies demonstrating multifunctional roles of gut microbiota in the gut-brain axis of PD and the currently available evidence for targeting the gut microbiota as a novel approach to potential disease-modifying therapy in PD.

Keywords: Gut microbiota; Gut–brain axis; Live biotherapeutic product; Parkinson's disease; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enteric Nervous System* / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy