Gastrointestinal dysfunction, in particular constipation, affects up to 80% of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and may precede the onset of motor symptoms by many years. Now, researchers have found that the gut microbiome in PD patients differs from that in healthy individuals.
By analysing stool samples, Filip Scheperjans, from the University of Helsinki, and colleagues found that the quantity of bacteria from the Prevotellaceae family was 77.6% lower in PD patients compared with controls. Meanwhile, the amount of Enterobacteriaceae was positively correlated with the severity of postural instability and gait difficulty in PD patients.
“These findings suggest that the intestinal microbiome is altered in PD and is related to motor phenotype,” write the authors in Movement Disorders
(online, 5 December 2014).