Impact of Nutrition, Microbiota Transplant and Weight Loss Surgery on Dopaminergic Alterations in Parkinson’s Disease and Obesity

Sevag Hamamah, Andras Hajnal, Mihai Covasa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder world-wide, is characterized by dopaminergic neuron degeneration and α-synuclein aggregation in the substantia nigra pars compacta of the midbrain. Emerging evidence has shown that dietary intake affects the microbial composition in the gut, which in turn contributes to, or protects against, the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in affected regions of the brain. More specifically, the Mediterranean diet and Western diet, composed of varying amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, exert contrasting effects on PD pathophysiology via alterations in the gut microbiota and dopamine levels. Interestingly, the negative changes in the gut microbiota of patients with PD parallel changes that are seen in individuals that consume a Western diet, and are opposite to those that adhere to a Mediterranean diet. In this review, we first examine the role of prominent food groups on dopamine bioavailability, how they modulate the composition and function of the gut microbiota and the subsequent effects on PD and obesity pathophysiology. We then highlight evidence on how microbiota transplant and weight loss surgery can be used as therapeutic tools to restore dopaminergic deficits through optimizing gut microbial composition. In the process, we revisit dietary metabolites and their role in therapeutic approaches involving dopaminergic pathways. Overall, understanding the role of nutrition on dopamine bioavailability and gut microbiota in dopamine-related pathologies such as PD will help develop more precise therapeutic targets to rescue dopaminergic deficits in neurologic and metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7503
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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