Meta-analysis of the Parkinson’s disease gut microbiome suggests alterations linked to intestinal inflammation
The gut microbiota is emerging as an important modulator of neurodegenerative diseases, and accumulating evidence has linked gut microbes to Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptomatology and pathophysiology. PD is often preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms and alterations of the enteric nervous system accompany the disease. Several studies have analyzed the gut microbiome in PD, but a consensus on the features of the PD-specific microbiota is missing. Here, we conduct a meta-analysis re-analyzing the ten currently available 16S microbiome datasets to investigate whether common alterations in the gut microbiota of PD patients exist across cohorts. We found significant alterations in the PD-associated microbiome, which are robust to study-specific technical heterogeneities, although differences in microbiome structure between PD and controls are small. Enrichment of the genera Lactobacillus, Akkermansia, and Bifidobacterium and depletion of bacteria belonging to the Lachnospiraceae family and the Faecalibacterium genus, both important short-chain fatty acids producers, emerged as the most consistent PD gut microbiome alterations. This dysbiosis might result in a pro-inflammatory status which could be linked to the recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms affecting PD patients.