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Tau in the gut, does it really matter?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Pascal Derkinderen, Malvyne Rolli-Derkinderen, Guillaume Chapelet, Michel Neunlist, Wendy Noble

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-104
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Accepted/In press2021
PublishedJul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: There is no relevant funding associated with this Review. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 International Society for Neurochemistry Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


The enteric nervous system plays a critical role in the regulation of gastrointestinal tract functions and is often referred to as the ‘second brain’ because it shares many features with the central nervous system. These similarities include among others a large panel of neurotransmitters, a large population of glial cells and a susceptibility to neurodegeneration. This close homology between the central and enteric nervous systems suggests that a disease process affecting the central nervous system could also involve its enteric counterpart. This was already documented in Parkinson's disease, the most common synucleinopathy, in which alpha-synuclein deposits are reported in the enteric nervous system in the vast majority of patients. Tau is another key protein involved in neurodegenerative disorders of the brain. Whether changes in tau also occur in the enteric nervous system during gut or brain disorders has just begun to be explored. The scope of the present article is therefore to review existing studies on the expression and phosphorylation pattern of tau in the enteric nervous system under physiological and pathological conditions and to discuss the possible occurrence of ‘enteric tauopathies’. (Figure presented.).

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