Parkinson’s Disease May Take Root in the Gut Before Moving to the Brain

Parkinson’s disease, which involves the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain, may originate in the gut, new research suggests, adding to a growing body of evidence supporting the idea.

The new study shows that a protein in nerve cells that becomes corrupted and then forms clumps in the brains of people with Parkinson’s can also be found in cells that line the small intestine. The research was done in both mice and human cells.

A key clue to how the protein may move from the lumen into nerve cells came in 2015. Liddle’s team discovered cells in the lining of the small intestine that “acted a lot like nerve cells.”


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