Towards early detection of neurodegenerative diseases: A gut feeling

Author: Stephanie Makdissi1,2, Brendon D Parsons1, Francesca Di Cara1,2
1 Dalhousie University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Halifax, NS, Canada.
2 IWK Health Centre, Department of Pediatrics, Halifax, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Front Cell Dev Biol
Date published: 2023 Feb 7
Other: Volume ID: 11 , Pages: 1087091 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fcell.2023.1087091. , Word Count: 291

The gastrointestinal tract communicates with the nervous system through a bidirectional network of signaling pathways called the gut-brain axis, which consists of multiple connections, including the enteric nervous system, the vagus nerve, the immune system, endocrine signals, the microbiota, and its metabolites. Alteration of communications in the gut-brain axis is emerging as an overlooked cause of neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is a common feature of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in various neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) that are incurable and debilitating conditions resulting in progressive degeneration and death of neurons, such as in Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. NDs are a leading cause of global death and disability, and the incidences are expected to increase in the following decades if prevention strategies and successful treatment remain elusive. To date, the etiology of NDs is unclear due to the complexity of the mechanisms of diseases involving genetic and environmental factors, including diet and microbiota. Emerging evidence suggests that changes in diet, alteration of the microbiota, and deregulation of metabolism in the intestinal epithelium influence the inflammatory status of the neurons linked to disease insurgence and progression. This review will describe the leading players of the so-called diet-microbiota-gut-brain (DMGB) axis in the context of NDs. We will report recent findings from studies in model organisms such as rodents and fruit flies that support the role of diets, commensals, and intestinal epithelial functions as an overlooked primary regulator of brain health. We will finish discussing the pivotal role of metabolisms of cellular organelles such as mitochondria and peroxisomes in maintaining the DMGB axis and how alteration of the latter can be used as early disease makers and novel therapeutic targets.

Keywords: A β amyloid; a-synuclein; alzheimer disease; gut-brain axis; microbiota; neurodegenerative disease; parkinson disease; peroxisomes.

PMID: 36824371 PMCID: PMC9941184 DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2023.1087091