The gut bacterial microbiome is strongly associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), but no studies have investigated the role of fungi in the gut to date. In this novel study published in the Journal of Parkinson DiseaseA team of researchers from the University of British Columbia investigated whether the fungal constituents of the gut microbiome are associated with PD. Their research showed that intestinal fungus was not a contributing factor, belittling the need for potential antifungal treatments of the gut in PD patients.
"Several studies conducted since 2014 have characterized changes in the gut microbiome," said Dr. "Most existing studies, however, use bacterial-specific sequencing. To date, a possible role for the fungal constituents of the gut microbiome, also known as 'mycobioma', has remained unexplored."
To investigate whether the fungal constituents of the gut microbiome are associated with PD researchers, 95 PD patients and 57 controls participated at the University of British Columbia's Pacific Parkinson Research Center (PPRC). Participants provided a single stool sample and completed a two-hour study visit to assess their PD symptoms.
The analysis showed that the fungal microbiome in PD was not significantly different from that of the matching controls and that there were no strong associations between intestinal fungi and PD symptoms.
Fungi were very sparse among the participants' fecal microbiomes. After filtering, 106 of the 152 participants (64/95 PD and 42/57 control) remained for the downstream analysis of the composition; The rest had practically no detectable fungal genome content. Most of the genera identified were of environmental or dietary origin.
Saccharomyces was by far the most dominant genus of fungus detected. Interestingly, although these studies did not reveal a significant role for intestinal fungi in Parkinson's disease, a lower incidence of fungus (compared to bacteria) in the intestines of Parkinson's disease was observed, which could be due to a less hospitable environment in the intestine in Parkinson's disease .
This paper plays an important role in responding to calls from the PD research community and funding agencies to publish negative results. This is critical to avoid wasting valuable research money on what is likely to be a futile effort and to allow a more balanced presentation of the data in this area.
"The data is an important piece of the puzzle to understanding the general role of the gut microbiome in Parkinson's disease," continued Dr. Appel-Cresswell continued. "PD patients can be assured that intestinal fungal overgrowth or dysbiosis is unlikely to be contributing to any of their motor and non-motor PD symptoms."
"The gut microbiome in Parkinson's disease is still an exciting area of research where we are only just beginning to uncover potential mechanisms. It will be important to publish both negative and positive results along with detailed methods to get a realistic one Reflecting on the data in the literature to speed discovery, "she concluded.
PD is a slowly progressing disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance. It is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder, affecting approximately 3% of the population over the age of 65 and up to 5% of those over the age of 85. In recent years, the gut has received more attention as a key player in the initiation and progression of Parkinson's disease.