High-fish intake is associated with later-onset Parkinson’s disease and enrichment of short-chain fatty acid-producing microorganisms


  • Ishana Lodhia University of British Columbia
  • Lochlan Breckenridge University of British Columbia
  • Fares Burwag University of British Columbia
  • Renee Lim University of British Columbia


Epidemiological studies suggest that dietary habits can modulate the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. As an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, consumption of fish promotes brain health, potentially mediated in part by the microbiome. In this study, we investigated the influence of a high-fish diet on Parkinson’s disease onset and whether this is associated with enrichment of microbial taxa that maintain a healthy gut. We hypothesized that later-onset Parkinson’s disease is correlated with individuals consuming high dietary fish, and that the putative effect is mediated through enrichment of short-chain fatty acid-producing microorganisms. We used dietary information and taxonomic data obtained from fecal samples of 197 Parkinson’s disease patients surveyed by Cirstea et al. We observed a significant correlation between high-fish intake and later-onset Parkinson’s disease in males. Although we did not find global perturbations in gut microbiota composition due to fish intake and age of onset, short-chain fatty acid-producing microbes, including Intestinimonas and Lachnospiraceae, were enriched in high-fish-consuming male Parkinson’s disease patients relative to low-fish. Further, these microorganisms were identified as indicator species for high-fish intake and later-onset Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, we determined that high-fish diets may be associated with short-chain fatty acid metabolic pathways, namely acetate and acetyl-CoA synthesis. Together, our findings suggest that a high-fish diet selects for enrichment of short chain fatty acid-producing microorganisms that may contribute to delaying onset of Parkinson’s disease in males by maintaining gut health.


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