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Neurology. 2011 Nov 8;77(19):1761-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318236ef60.

Parkinson disease: the enteric nervous system spills its guts.

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Inserm U913, 1 place Alexis Ricordeau, CHU Nantes, 44093 Nantes Cedex 1, France.


Lewy pathology in Parkinson disease (PD) extends well beyond the CNS, also affecting peripheral autonomic neuronal circuits, especially the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is an integrative neuronal network also referred to as "the brain in the gut" because of its similarities to the CNS. We have recently shown that the ENS can be readily analyzed using routine colonic biopsies. This led us to propose that the ENS could represent a unique window to assess the neuropathology in living patients with PD. In this perspective, we discuss current evidence which indicates that the presence of ENS pathology may by exploited to improve our understanding and management of PD and likely other neurodegenerative disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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