Differences in the gut microbiome across typical ageing and in Parkinson's disease

Neuropharmacology. 2023 Sep 1:235:109566. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2023.109566. Epub 2023 May 5.


The microbiota-gut-brain axis' role in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathophysiology, and how this differs from typical ageing, is poorly understood. Presently, gut-bacterial diversity, taxonomic abundance and metabolic bacterial pathways were compared across healthy young (n = 22, 18-35 years), healthy older (n = 33, 50-80 years), and PD groups (n = 18, 50-80 years) using shotgun sequencing and compositional data analysis. Associations between the gut-microbiome and PD symptoms, and between lifestyle factors (fibre intake, physical activity, and sleep) and the gut-microbiome were conducted. Alpha-diversity did not differ between PD participants and older adults, whilst beta-diversity differed between these groups. Lower abundance of Butyricimonas synergistica, a butyrate-producer, was associated with worse PD non-motor symptoms in the PD group. Regarding typical ageing, Bifidobacterium bifidum, was greater in the younger compared to older group, with no difference between the older and PD group. Abundance of metabolic pathways related to butyrate production did not differ among the groups, while other metabolic pathways differed among the three groups. Sleep efficiency was positively associated with Roseburia inulinivorans in the older group. These results highlight the relevance of gut-microbiota to PD and that reduced butyrate-production may be involved with PD pathophysiology. Future studies should account for lifestyle factors when investigating gut-microbiomes across ageing and in PD. This article is part of the Special Issue on "Microbiome & the Brain: Mechanisms & Maladies".

Keywords: Aging; Gut-brain-axis; Microbiome; Microbiota; PD; Short chain fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Butyrates
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease*


  • Butyrates