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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Jan 2024 - 2 Feb 2024

2024 Jan 20

Int J Mol Sci




From the Gut to the Brain: The Role of Enteric Glial Cells and Their Involvement in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease.


Montalbán-Rodríguez A, Abalo R, López-Gómez L


The brain-gut axis has been identified as an important contributor to the physiopathology of Parkinson’s disease. In this pathology, inflammation is thought to be driven by the damage caused by aggregation of α-synuclein in the brain. Interestingly, the Braak’s theory proposes that α-synuclein misfolding may originate in the gut and spread in a “prion-like” manner through the vagus nerve into the central nervous system. In the enteric nervous system, enteric glial cells are the most abundant cellular component. Several studies have evaluated their role in Parkinson’s disease. Using samples obtained from patients, cell cultures, or animal models, the studies with specific antibodies to label enteric glial cells (GFAP, Sox-10, and S100β) seem to indicate that activation and reactive gliosis are associated to the neurodegeneration produced by Parkinson’s disease in the enteric nervous system. Of interest, Toll-like receptors, which are expressed on enteric glial cells, participate in the triggering of immune/inflammatory responses, in the maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity and in the configuration of gut microbiota; thus, these receptors might contribute to Parkinson’s disease. External factors like stress also seem to be relevant in its pathogenesis. Some authors have studied ways to reverse changes in EGCs with interventions such as administration of Tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase inhibitors, nutraceuticals, or physical exercise. Some researchers point out that beyond being activated during the disease, enteric glial cells may contribute to the development of synucleinopathies. Thus, it is still necessary to further study these cells and their role in Parkinson’s disease.