Could Parkinson’s disease originate in the gut?


Author: Sarah McGrathPublished: 30 November 2022

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A new body of research has highlighted a potential link between gut health and Parkinson’s, with several studies presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in San Diego, US.

One study focused on alpha-synuclein – a protein that can cause brain cells to die and contribute to the condition’s onset. As part of the study, the researchers created a mouse model of Parkinson’s by treating the mice with rotenone (an ingredient used in pesticides). This was found to increase clumps of alpha-synuclein in the gut, suggesting the protein may originate in the digestive system before moving to the brain.

Commenting on the research presented at the event in a press release, assistant professor of neurosurgery Sonia Villapol said: “When it comes to neurological disorders, we cannot target only the brain. Everything that happens in the gut has an impact on the brain.”

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