A profound study of gut homeostasis in Parkinson's disease.

01 January 2018 → 14 October 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Gastro-enterology
    • Neurological and neuromuscular diseases
    • Microbiome
    • Neurological and neuromuscular diseases
Project description

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and due to the
lack of early diagnosis and effective therapy, represents a large burden for our society and
healthcare system. The last years, it became increasingly apparent that non-motor symptoms,
including gastrointestinal dysfunction, precede the onset of the typical PD motor symptoms by
over two decades. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that PD, and more specifically the
aggregation of alpha-synuclein syn), starts in the gut before spreading to the brain. Additionally,
recent microbiome studies consistently showed microbiota differences between PD patients and
healthy controls. However, detailed insights in how the microbiome affects the patients’
symptoms is lacking.
The ultimate goal of this project is to address the impact of gut dysbiosis and the restoration of gut
homeostasis by fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) on the development and progression of PD.
We will identify PD-specific changes in microbiota composition and gut inflammation and
determine the effect of a ‘microbiome-reset’ approach through FMT in PD patients on the
identified changes and more importantly on disease symptoms and progression. In parallel, we
aim to elucidate the mechanism by which the microbiome affects PD disease onset and
progression, using a mouse model of PD, focusing on the effect of the microbiome on syn
expression, aggregation and spreading.