Gut Microbiota and Metabolome Alterations Associated with Parkinson's Disease

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Vascellari S, Palmas V, Melis M, Pisanu S, Cusano R, Uva P, Perra D, Madau V, Sarchioto M, Oppo V, Simola N, Morelli M, Santoru ML, Atzori L, Melis M, Cossu G, Manzin A
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of intracellular aggregates of misfolded alpha-synuclein along the cerebral axis. Several studies report the association between intestinal dysbiosis and Parkinson's disease, although a cause-effect relationship remains to be established. Herein, the gut microbiota composition of 64 Italian patients with Parkinson's disease and 51 controls was determined using a next-generation sequencing approach. A real metagenomics shape based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was also investigated. The most significant changes within the Parkinson's disease group highlighted a reduction in bacterial taxa, which are linked to anti-inflammatory/neuroprotective effects, particularly in the Lachnospiraceae family and key members, such as Butyrivibrio, Pseudobutyrivibrio, Coprococcus, and Blautia The direct evaluation of fecal metabolites revealed changes in several classes of metabolites. Changes were seen in lipids (linoleic acid, oleic acid, succinic acid, and sebacic acid), vitamins (pantothenic acid and nicotinic acid), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, glutamic acid, and pyroglutamic acid) and other organic compounds (cadaverine, ethanolamine, and hydroxy propionic acid). Most modified metabolites strongly correlated with the abundance of members belonging to the Lachnospiraceae family, suggesting that these gut bacteria correlate with altered metabolism rates in Parkinson's disease.IMPORTANCE To our knowledge, this is one of the few studies thus far that correlates the composition of the gut microbiota with the direct analysis of fecal metabolites in patients with Parkinson's disease. Overall, our data highlight microbiota modifications correlated with numerous fecal metabolites. This suggests that Parkinson's disease is associated with gut dysregulation that involves a synergistic relationship between gut microbes and several bacterial metabolites favoring altered homeostasis. Interestingly, a reduction of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria influenced the shape of the metabolomics profile, affecting several metabolites with potential protective effects in the Parkinson group. On the other hand, the extensive impact that intestinal dysbiosis has at the level of numerous metabolic pathways could encourage the identification of specific biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease, also in light of the effect that specific drugs have on the composition of the intestinal microbiota.