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Desulfovibrio Bacteria Identified As Potential Cause Of Parkinson’s Disease

desulfovibrio-bacteria-and-parkinson's

Researchers at the University of Helsinki have made a significant breakthrough in identifying the cause of Parkinson’s disease. According to their recently published study, specific strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are likely to cause the disease in most cases. The study enables the screening of carriers of these harmful bacteria, allowing for their removal from the gut. Removing these bacteria can potentially alleviate and slow the symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease.  

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating and progressive nervous system disorder that affects approximately 10 million people worldwide. The disease is characterized by a loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, leading to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement and coordination. The cause of Parkinson’s disease has long been a mystery, with environmental factors and individual genes implicated as possible causes.  

The researchers at the University of Helsinki used the worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism to experimentally investigate whether Desulfovibrio strains found in patients can result in the progression of Parkinson’s disease. The study found that the Desulfovibrio strains in patients with Parkinson’s disease cause a significant aggregation of the α-synuclein protein. In contrast, Desulfovibrio strains isolated from healthy individuals did not cause α-synuclein aggregation to the same degree.  

The study also found that the α-synuclein aggregates caused by the Desulfovibrio strains in patients with Parkinson’s disease were more significant than those caused by Desulfovibrio strains isolated from healthy individuals. This suggests that specific strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are likely to cause Parkinson’s disease.  

Professor Per Saris from the University of Helsinki explains that the study’s findings are significant, as the cause of Parkinson’s disease has been unknown despite attempts to identify it for over two centuries. The findings indicate that the disease is primarily caused by environmental factors, specifically environmental exposure to the Desulfovibrio bacterial strains that cause Parkinson’s disease.  

The researchers’ discovery makes screening for carriers of the harmful Desulfovibrio bacteria possible. This would allow for removing the bacteria from the gut, potentially slowing the symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Saris also notes that once the Desulfovibrio bacteria are eliminated from the gut, α-synuclein aggregates are no longer formed in intestinal cells. These aggregates, like prion proteins, travel toward the brain via the vagus nerve.  

In conclusion, the researchers at the University of Helsinki have made a significant breakthrough in identifying the cause of Parkinson’s disease. Their findings indicate that specific strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are likely to cause the disease in most cases. The ability to screen for carriers of these harmful bacteria and remove them from the gut offers new hope for patients with Parkinson’s disease. 

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