Silvija Bartašiūnaitė1, Paulius Sėdžius1, Živilė Zemeckaitė1
1Faculty of Medicine, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
Changes in protein structure and protein aggregation are the key pathological indications observed in many neurodegenerative diseases, including the Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases. Gradual degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the black matter is inherent to PD and results in progressing motor and non-motor symptoms. The non-motor symptoms have been noticed to manifest earlier than the disease itself is diagnosed. Scientists researching the origins of PD also noticed changes in the enteric nervous system (ENS) and had a hypothesis that PD could first manifest in the intestines and then spread to the central nervous system (CNS). The change in the gut microbiota could be the key initiator of PD. Changes in the digestive system are believed to cause the degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons through various mechanisms, such as neurotoxins getting into the blood flow, decreased formation of neuroprotective factors and modulation of inflammatory and autoimmune processes. Even though studies of the gut microbiota of healthy and sick patients reveal significant differences, scientists claim that standardized and more detailed researches should be carried out first. Researchers are also interested in studying the significance of probiotics for people diagnosed with PD. Preclinical studies show optimistic results of probiotics being suitable for both PD treatment and prevention.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, gut microbiome, probiotics.