Constipation in Parkinson’s Disease: a Nuisance or Nuanced Answer to the Pathophysiological Puzzle?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Chronic constipation is a common, nonmotor, and prodromal symptom in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Its underlying neuropathology may provide pathophysiological insight into PD. Here, we critically review what is currently known about the neuroanatomical and brain-gut interactions, and the origin and progression of Lewy pathology (LP) at three levels—brain/brainstem, spinal cord, and enteric nervous system. Recent Findings: Many recent studies have illustrated the challenges of examining LP in tissues obtained from colon biopsies of PD patients. Large-scale epidemiological studies have not confirmed the widely accepted Braakpostula. Summary: In this review, we propose an alternative origin and route of spread of LP in PD. We describe novel, noninvasive neurophysiological testing that could advance the understanding of LP and complex bidirectional brain-pelvic floor neural pathways in PD—a true disease model of a neurogastrointestinal disorder. This review may provide the impetus for future studies investigating gut and brain interaction and constipation in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalCurrent Gastroenterology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Constipation
  • Dyssynergic defecation
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Lewy bodies/neurites/pathology
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • α-Synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Constipation in Parkinson’s Disease: a Nuisance or Nuanced Answer to the Pathophysiological Puzzle?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this