Gut-brain axis: microbiome changes after deppe brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease
Julia Steinhardt, University of Lübeck
The aim of my research stay at Prof. Dinan's lab is to learn how the gut microbiome impacts on peripheral and central metabolites, neuroendocrine functioning, as well as on regulating eating behaviour to support one aspect of my ongoing doctoral project "Mechanisms of body weight gain in Parkinson's disease after deep brain stimulation".
There is growing evidence that gut microbiome plays an important role in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as in obesity. Therefore, I aim to assess the gut microbiome in a cross-sectional as well as in a longitudinal study focusing on subjects with PD, treated with either deep brain stimulation (DBS) or best medical approach, as well as on healthy control subjects. In this context, I would like to assess possible changes in gut microbiota pre- and post-DBS surgery, which may enable the detection of neuroprotective factors that can be modulated by DBS treatment in a long run. To our knowledge, this has not been addressed so far.
For this, I want to learn state of the art techniques of gut microbiome research, as well as to familiarize with the analysis of my previously collected samples. In addition, I would like to achieve new collaborations for further analysis and discussion of my ongoing PhD project as well as future projects.
The overall goal is to transfer the acquired knowledge to our research question addressing gut microbiota in PD patients along with the development of further investigations to study the role of probiotics as a novel biotherapeutic target in PD treatment.
The primary aim of my research stay in Cork was to learn how the gut microbiome impacts on peripheral and central metabolites, neuroendocrine functioning, as well as on regulating eating behaviour to support my ongoing doctoral project. The mentor team composed of Prof. Dr. Dinan, Prof. Dr. Cyan and Dr. O'Riordan provided an excellent expertise and research environment for the progress of my PhD project.
During this stay I had the opportunity to learn state of the art techniques of gut microbiome research like for example, visualization and quantification of microbial profiles, testing gut permeability, as well as immunohistochemical stainings and advanced statistical analysis that are important in both, animal and human studies. Furthermore, I was able to gain knowledge about potential biomarkers like bacterial species and other molecules of the gut microbiota that are believed to be relevant for weight changes.
Apart from the work that I have done in the lab, I attended interesting talks of researchers from the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork as well as form invited speakers from Oxford, UK about the impact of nutrients for health and disease, different aspects of microbial analysis and its impacts on translational research. Through listening to these talks and discussing the work presented shaped my plans for further studies how to investigate gut microbiome with my own data as well as in future projects.
I am thankful to the Bioscientifica Trust for funding my research stay in the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork. The time in the lab of Prof. Dr. Dinan was extremely fruitful for my PhD project, because I learned a lot and established new contacts.
Grant awarded: €2,000