Microbiome and Metabolome Insights into the Role of the Gastrointestinal-Brain Axis in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease: Unveiling Potential Therapeutic Targets.


Helena U Zacharias, Christoph Kaleta, François Cossais, Eva Schaeffer, Henry Berndt, Lena Best, Thomas Dost, Svea Glüsing, Mathieu Groussin, Mathilde Poyet, Sebastian Heinzel, Corinna Bang, Leonard Siebert, Tobias Demetrowitsch, Frank Leypoldt, Rainer Adelung, Thorsten Bartsch, Anja Bosy-Westphal, Karin Schwarz, Daniela Berg

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Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the prevalence of which is rapidly rising due to an aging world population and westernization of lifestyles, are expected to put a strong socioeconomic burden on health systems worldwide. Clinical trials of therapies against PD and AD have only shown limited success so far. Therefore, research has extended its scope to a systems medicine point of view, with a particular focus on the gastrointestinal-brain axis as a potential main actor in disease development and progression. Microbiome and metabolome studies have already revealed important insights into disease mechanisms. Both the microbiome and metabolome can be easily manipulated by dietary and lifestyle interventions, and might thus offer novel, readily available therapeutic options to prevent the onset as well as the progression of PD and AD. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the interplay between microbiota, metabolites, and neurodegeneration along the gastrointestinal-brain axis. We further illustrate state-of-the art methods of microbiome and metabolome research as well as metabolic modeling that facilitate the identification of disease pathomechanisms. We conclude with therapeutic options to modulate microbiome composition to prevent or delay neurodegeneration and illustrate potential future research directions to fight PD and AD.