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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition that affects 1% of the population over 65 years of age. The two pathological hallmarks of PD are a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) and the presence of cytoplasmic eosinophilic inclusions termed Lewy bodies (LBs), whose main component is phosphorylated α-synuclein.1 This degeneration of SN neurons leads to a dopamine deficiency responsible for the major motor symptoms. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly evident that PD is a multicentric neurodegenerative process that also affects neuronal structures outside the SN.2 In this context, various reports performed on surgical or autopsy specimens have shown that the enteric nervous system (ENS) is affected during PD.3 4 However, it is still a matter of debate whether these alterations occur early in the course of the disease. This is mainly due to a lack of accessibility to the ENS in the living patients. Therefore, demonstrating (1) the ability to study the ENS using routine colonic biopsies and (2) the presence of lesions characteristics …
Funding: This work was supported by a grant from France Parkinson, ADPLA (association des parkinsoniens de Loire Atlantique), Groupement de Parkinsoniens de Vendée and Inserm/DHOS (to PDe and MN). PDe and MN are recipients of a Contrat d’Interface Inserm.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: The study protocol was approved by the local Committee on Ethics and Human Research on 27 February 2007.
TC and TL as well as PD and MN contributed equally to this work.
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