Study links desulfovibrio bacteria to Parkinson’s disease and aggregation of α-synuclein protein

A recent study conducted by Professor Per Saris and his team at the University of Helsinki has shed light on the potential cause of Parkinson’s disease. The study found that certain strains of the Desulfovibrio bacteria are strongly correlated with Parkinson’s disease and the severity of its symptoms. These bacteria are primarily acquired through environmental exposure rather than genetics, accounting for approximately 90% of Parkinson’s cases.

The aim of the study was to determine whether Desulfovibrio strains found in Parkinson’s patients can contribute to the progression of the disease. Using the Caenorhabditis elegans worm as a model organism for Parkinson’s disease, the study found that these strains cause significant aggregation of the α-synuclein protein, a hallmark of the disease. Interestingly, Desulfovibrio strains isolated from healthy individuals did not cause the same level of protein aggregation.

These findings have important implications for the future diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. By screening for carriers of harmful Desulfovibrio bacteria, measures can be taken to remove these strains from the gut and potentially alleviate and slow the disease’s symptoms. Eliminating these bacteria from the gut would prevent the formation of α-synuclein aggregates in intestinal cells, which can travel to the brain via the vagus nerve like prion proteins. Overall, this study represents a significant step forward in our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and its potential treatment.

Source:  University of Helsinki

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