New Research Funded at The University of Queensland to Study the Gut-Brain Axis in Parkinson’s
Tuesday, 7th December 2021

Shake It Up together with our partners at The Michael J. Fox Foundation are excited to announce funding for the University of Queensland to study the gut-brain axis in Parkinson’s disease.

Gut dysfunction and microbiome dysbiosis have been linked to the onset and progression of Parkinson’s PD) pathology. However, the mechanisms by which an altered gut microbial population can initiate or contribute to disease progression remains poorly defined.  It has been recently uncovered that the microbial pathways for synthesis of Trimethylamine (TMA) are specifically elevated in PD patients. Further studies in Australian PD patients and other published reports have shown that TMAO is elevated in PD patient bloods and biofluids and suggest that elevated TMAO could in PD patients can indicate faster disease progression and worsened outcomes.

The studies aim to systematically characterise and confirm the processes by which bacterial TMAO can drive PD pathology and disease progression at the gut-brain axis. It will assess if elevated TMAO can exacerbate motor and non-motor symptoms features relevant to human PD. The results from studies will provide new insights and clear evidence for TMAO as a possible driver of disease progression at the gut-brain axis in PD.

Should this theory be confirmed the study results will then provide the basis for developing new treatment strategies aimed at reducing TMAO-mediated pathology in PD to slow or halt disease progression.

Study Location: The University of Queensland

Principal Investigator: Dr Richard Gordon

Project Duration: 12 Months

Read the Full Project Brief

About Dr Richard Gordon

Dr. Gordon leads the Translational Neuroscience Laboratory at The University of Queensland. His research has focused on understanding the mechanisms driving the chronic inflammation linked to the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). His group is working on identifying novel therapeutic targets and developing new treatment strategies to slow or halt the progression of PD. His findings have contributed to landmark advances in the field, most recently, the discovery that an inflammatory complex called NLRP3 precipitates alpha-synuclein aggregation revealed a new therapeutic target for PD. He is a board-certified toxicologist with the American Board of Toxicology and has served as a member of the Australian Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee, which advises the Australian Gene Technology Regulator. He is also a science ambassador for the World Parkinson Coalition and the triennial World Parkinson Congress.

Learn More about Dr Gordon