Dystonia is a movement disorder in which patients have involuntary abnormal movements or postures. Non-motor symptoms, such as psychiatric symptoms, sleep problems and fatigue, are common. We hypothesise that the gut microbiome might play a role in the pathophysiology of the (non-)motor symptoms in dystonia via the gut-brain axis. This exploratory study investigates the composition of the gut microbiome in dystonia patients compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, the abundance of neuro-active metabolic pathways, which might be implicated in the (non-)motor symptoms, was investigated. We performed both metagenomic and 16S rRNA sequencing on the stool samples of three subtypes of dystonia (27 cervical dystonia, 20 dopa-responsive dystonia and 24 myoclonus-dystonia patients) and 25 controls. While microbiome alpha and beta diversity was not different between dystonia patients and controls, dystonia patients had higher abundances of Ruminococcus torques and Dorea formicigenerans, and a lower abundance of Butyrivibrio crossotus compared to controls. For those with dystonia, non-motor symptoms and the levels of neurotransmitters in plasma explained the variance in the gut microbiome composition. Several neuro-active metabolic pathways, especially tryptophan degradation, were less abundant in the dystonia patients compared to controls. This suggest that the gut-brain axis might be involved in the pathophysiology of dystonia. Further studies are necessary to confirm our preliminary findings.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 25-jan.-2023


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