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J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2018 Jul 30;24(3):469-478. doi: 10.5056/jnm17141.

Relation of Enteric α-Synuclein to Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Patients With Parkinson's Disease and in Neurologically Intact Subjects.

Author information

1
Health Screening and Promotion Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2
Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Neurology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
4
Department of Pathology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
5
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
6
Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Background/Aims:

α-Synucleinopathy in the brain is the neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the functional impact of α-synucleinopathy in the enteric nervous system remains unknown. We aim to evaluate the association between gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction and α-synuclein (αSYN) pathology in the stomach and colon of PD patients and controls, as well as to investigate the association between the αSYN pathology in GI tract and future PD risk.

Methods:

A total of 35 PD patients and 52 neurologically intact subjects were enrolled in this study. Endoscopic biopsies were performed, and then immunohistochemical staining for αSYN was performed. All subjects completed the validated Rome III questionnaire for the assessment of GI symptoms. The association between GI symptoms and the αSYN pathology in GI mucosa was evaluated. Incident PD cases were assessed during a median follow-up of 46 months.

Results:

The proportion of self-reported constipation and functional constipation through the Rome III questionnaire was significantly higher in PD patients than in controls (P < 0.001 and P = 0.015). However, no significant association was found between the αSYN pathology in the stomach and colon mucosa and constipation, as well as other GI symptoms including dyspepsia symptoms and abdominal discomfort or pain, regardless of the presence or absence of clinical PD (P > 0.05). No incident PD cases were diagnosed during study period.

Conclusions:

Our present study suggests that the deposition of αSYN in the mucosal enteric nervous system may not be reflected by functional impairment of the affected segment of the gut.

KEYWORDS:

Enteric nervous system; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Parkinson disease; α-Synuclein

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