Growing evidences show that gut microbiota is associated with the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the gut-brain axis can be promising target for the development of the therapeutic strategies for PD. Acupuncture has been used to improve brain functions and inflammation in neurological disorders such as PD, and to recover the gastrointestinal dysfunctions in various gastrointestinal disorders. Thus, we investigated whether acupuncture could improve Parkinsonism and gut microbial dysbiosis induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. First, we observed that acupuncture treatment at acupoints GB34 and ST36 could improve motor functions and comorbid anxiety in PD mice. Next, we found that acupuncture increased the levels of dopaminergic fibers and neurons in the striatum and the substantia nigra, respectively. Acupuncture also restored the overexpression of microglia and astrocyte as well as conversion of Bax and Bcl-2 expression in both the striatum and the substantia nigra, indicating that inflammatory responses and apoptosis were blocked by acupuncture. Additionally, via 16S rRNA sequence analysis, we observed that the relative abundance of 18 genera were changed in acupuncture-treated mice compared to the PD mice. Of them, Butyricimonas, Holdemania, Frisingicoccus, Gracilibacter, Phocea, and Aestuariispira showed significant correlations with anxiety as well as motor functions. Furthermore, the predicted functional analyses showed that acupuncture restored the physiology functions such as glutathione metabolism, methane metabolism, and PD pathway. In conclusion, we suggest that the effects of acupuncture on the enhanced motor function and the protection of the dopaminergic neurons may be associated with the regulation of the gut microbial dysbiosis and thus the inhibition of the neuroinflammation in the PD mice.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.