It is a well-established fact that the sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric nervous systems are affected at early stages in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it is not yet clarified whether the earliest pathological events preferentially occur in any of these three divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Significant involvement of the peripheral autonomic nervous system of the heart and gastrointestinal tract has been documented in PD. Accumulating evidence suggests that the PD pathology spreads centripetally from the peripheral to central nervous system through autonomic nerve fibers, implicating the ANS as a major culprit in PD pathogenesis and a potential target for therapy. This study begins with a brief overview of the structures of the central and peripheral autonomic nervous system and then outlines the major clinicopathological manifestations of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disturbances in PD.
Cell and Tissue Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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