Parkinson's disease (PD) is known to be associated with altered gastrointestinal function and microbiota composition. To date, the effect of PD medication on the gastrointestinal function and microbiota, at the site of drug absorption, the small intestine, has not been studied, although it may represent an important confounder in reported microbiota alterations observed in PD patients. To this end, healthy (non-PD) wild-type Groningen rats were employed and treated with dopamine, pramipexole (in combination with levodopa-carbidopa), or ropinirole (in combination with levodopa-carbidopa) for 14 sequential days. Rats treated with dopamine agonists showed a significant reduction in small intestinal motility and an increase in bacterial overgrowth in the distal small intestine. Notably, significant alterations in microbial taxa were observed between the treated and vehicle groups; analogous to the changes previously reported in human PD versus healthy control microbiota studies. These microbial changes included an increase in Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and a decrease in Lachnospiraceae and Prevotellaceae. Markedly, certain Lactobacillus species correlated negatively with levodopa levels in the systemic circulation, potentially affecting the bioavailability of levodopa. Overall, the study highlights a significant effect of PD medication intrinsically on disease-associated comorbidities, including gastrointestinal dysfunction and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, as well as the gut microbiota composition. The results urge future studies to take into account the influence of PD medication per se when seeking to identify microbiota-related biomarkers for PD. IMPORTANCE Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and is known to be associated with altered gastrointestinal function and microbiota composition. We previously showed that the gut bacteria harboring tyrosine decarboxylase enzymes interfere with levodopa, the main treatment for PD (S. P. van Kessel, A. K. Frye, A. O. El-Gendy, M. Castejon, A. Keshavarzian, G. van Dijk, and S. El Aidy, Nat Commun 10:310, 2019). Although PD medication could be an important confounder in the reported alterations, its effect, apart from the disease itself, on the microbiota composition or the gastrointestinal function at the site of drug absorption, the small intestine, has not been studied. The findings presented here show a significant impact of commonly prescribed PD medication on the small intestinal motility, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and microbiota composition, irrespective of the PD. Remarkably, we observed negative associations between bacterial species harboring tyrosine decarboxylase activity and levodopa levels in the systemic circulation, potentially affecting the bioavailability of levodopa. Overall, this study shows that PD medication is an important factor in determining gastrointestinal motility and, in turn, microbiota composition and may, partly, explain the differential abundant taxa previously reported in the cross-sectional PD microbiota human studies. The results urge future studies to take into account the influence of PD medication on gut motility and microbiota composition when seeking to identify microbiota-related biomarkers for PD.
|Number of pages||14|
|Early online date||25-Jan-2022|
|Publication status||Published - Jan-2022|
- Parkinson’s disease treatmen
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- gut motility
- drug sideeffects