hero image

In a recent study, Professor Per Saris and his team discovered a potential correlation between Parkinson’s disease and the presence of Desulfovibrio bacteria. Furthermore, their research suggests that higher numbers of these bacteria may be associated with more severe symptoms of the disease.

Desulfovibrio bacteria strains attributed to Parkinson’s disease

According to Professor Per Saris from the University of Helsinki, our research outcomes hold substantial importance, as the cause of Parkinson’s disease has remained elusive despite dedicated efforts spanning over the past two centuries. The findings strongly suggest that certain strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are probable culprits behind Parkinson’s disease. However, the primary cause of the disease can be attributed to environmental factors, specifically exposure to Desulfovibrio bacterial strains responsible for triggering Parkinson’s disease. It is worth noting that only a small portion, approximately 10%, of Parkinson’s disease cases stem from individual genetic factors.

Professor Saris’s team sought to conduct an empirical investigation to determine if the Desulfovibrio strains detected in patients could contribute to improving Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers made a significant discovery in their latest study, which was published on May 1 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. They found that these strains in Parkinson’s patients induced notable aggregation of the α-synuclein protein in a model organism specifically designed for studying Parkinson’s disease. The model organism used for this purpose was the worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

Study findings offer the potential to identify people with Desulfovibrio bacteria

Additionally, the research revealed that Desulfovibrio strains obtained from individuals without Parkinson’s disease do not induce α-synuclein aggregation to the same extent. Conversely, the aggregates triggered by Desulfovibrio strains in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease exhibited greater size.

The results of the study offer the potential to identify individuals carrying these detrimental Desulfovibrio bacteria. As a result, targeted interventions can be implemented to eradicate these strains from the gut, potentially providing relief and decelerating the symptoms experienced by Parkinson’s disease patients. Professor Saris emphasizes that once the gut is free from Desulfovibrio bacteria, the formation of α-synuclein aggregates in intestinal cells ceases, preventing their transmission to the brain through the vagus nerve, similar to prion proteins.