Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease in which gastrointestinal symptoms may appear prior to motor symptoms. The gut microbiota of patients with Parkinson's disease shows unique changes, which may be used as early biomarkers of disease. Alteration in gut microbiota composition may be related to the cause or effect of motor or non-motor symptoms, but the specific pathogenic mechanisms are unclear. The gut microbiota and its metabolites have been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease by regulating neuroinflammation, barrier function and neurotransmitter activity. There is bidirectional communication between the enteric nervous system and the central nervous system, and the microbiota-gut-brain axis may provide a pathway for the transmission of α-synuclein. We highlight recent discoveries and alterations of the gut microbiota in Parkinson's disease, and highlight current mechanistic insights on the microbiota-gut-brain axis in disease pathophysiology. We discuss the interactions between production and transmission of α-synuclein and gut inflammation and neuroinflammation. In addition, we also draw attention to diet modification, use of probiotics and prebiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation as potential therapeutic approaches that may lead to a new treatment paradigm for Parkinson's disease.