Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the common long-term degenerative disorders that primarily affect motor systems. Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in individuals with PD and often present before motor symptoms. It has been found that gut dysbiosis to PD pathology is related to the severity of motor and non-motor symptoms in PD. Probiotics have been reported to have the ability to improve the symptoms related to constipation in PD patients. However, the evidence from preclinical or clinical research to verify the beneficial effects of probiotics for the motor functions in PD is still limited. An experimental PD animal model could be helpful in exploring the potential therapeutic strategy using probiotics. In the current study, we examined whether daily and long-term administration of probiotics has neuroprotective effects on nigrostriatal dopamine neurons and whether it can further alleviate the motor dysfunctions in PD mice. Transgenic MitoPark PD mice were chosen for this study and the effects of daily probiotic treatment on gait, beam balance, motor coordination, and the degeneration levels of dopaminergic neurons were identified. From the results, compared with the sham treatment group, we found that the daily administration of probiotics significantly reduced the motor impairments in gait pattern, balance function, and motor coordination. Immunohistochemically, a tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cell in the substantia nigra was significantly preserved in the probiotic-treated PD mice. These results showed that long-term administration of probiotics has neuroprotective effects on dopamine neurons and further attenuates the deterioration of motor dysfunctions in MitoPark PD mice. Our data further highlighted the promising possibility of the potential use of probiotics, which could be the relevant approach for further application on human PD subjects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas