Gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson's disease

Alfonso Fasano, Naomi P. Visanji, Louis W.C. Liu, Antony E. Lang, Ronald F. Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

446 Scopus citations


Our understanding of dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system in patients with Parkinson's disease has increased substantially in the past decade. The entire gastrointestinal tract is affected in these patients, causing complications that range from oral issues, including drooling and swallowing problems, to delays in gastric emptying and constipation. Additionally, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and Helicobacter pylori infection affect motor fluctuations by interfering with the absorption of antiparkinsonian drugs. The multifaceted role of the gastrointestinal system in Parkinson's disease necessitates a specific and detailed assessment and treatment plan. The presence of pervasive α-synuclein deposition in the gastrointestinal tract strongly implicates this system in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Future studies elucidating the role of the gastrointestinal tract in the pathological progression of Parkinson's disease might hold potential for early disease detection and development of neuroprotective approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-639
Number of pages15
JournalThe Lancet Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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