Gut microbiome dysbiosis across early Parkinson’s disease, REM sleep behavior disorder and their first-degree relatives

The microbiota-gut-brain axis has been suggested to play an important role in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here we performed a cross-sectional study to profile gut microbiota across early PD, REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), first-degree relatives of RBD (RBD-FDR), and healthy controls, which could reflect the gut-brain staging model of PD. We show gut microbiota compositions are significantly altered in early PD and RBD compared with control and RBD-FDR. Depletion of butyrate-producing bacteria and enrichment of pro-inflammatory Collinsella have already emerged in RBD and RBD-FDR after controlling potential confounders including antidepressants, osmotic laxatives, and bowel movement frequency. Random forest modelling identifies 12 microbial markers that are effective to distinguish RBD from control.

These findings suggest that PD-like gut dysbiosis occurs at the prodromal stages of PD when RBD develops and starts to emerge in the younger RBD-FDR subjects. The study will have etiological and diagnostic implications.