The gastrointestinal complications of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease causes losses in neural control in the digestive system as well as in the central nervous system.  Loss of neural control of digestive function commonly occurs before central change is detected.


Physiological, pharmacological and structural approaches will be used to investigate whether central or enteric pathways are involved.

About 70% of people with Parkinson’s Disease have digestive problems, most commonly constipation.  Importantly for understanding the genesis of Parkinson’s Disease, the digestive disorders commonly precede the motor dysfunction.  The constipation could arise from disorders in the central nervous system or from disorders in the enteric nervous system. 

In this project, mice with a human mutation that gives rise to Parkinson’s Disease (in both humans and mice) will be used. 


Ellett, LJ, Hung, LW, Munckton, R, Sherratt, NA, Culvenor, J, Grubman, A, Furness, JB, White, AR, Finkelstein, DI, Barnham, KJ, Lawson, VA: Restoration of gastrointestinal function in an MPTP model of Parkinson’s Disease. Scientific Reports (2016).

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