Currently Viewing:
Currently Reading
Early Study Using Roundworms Finds Probiotic Protective Against Parkinson Disease
January 17, 2020 – Gianna Melillo
Top 5 Most-Read News Stories of 2019
December 23, 2019 – Maggie L. Shaw
Probiotics May Have an Impact on Psoriasis
December 13, 2019 – Gianna Melillo
Sleep Quality Indicative of Gut Microbiome Diversity, Study Shows
November 02, 2019 – Matthew Gavidia
Patients With PD, Mild Cognitive Impairment See Benefit From Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
October 07, 2019 – Allison Inserro
Men More Likely Than Women to Have Deep Brain Stimulation for Certain PD Symptoms
October 04, 2019 – AJMC Staff
Elevated Concentration of Lipid in Neonatal Microbiome Predicts Later Risk for Asthma, Allergy
July 23, 2019 – Allison Inserro
Research Offers Clues Into Destruction of Brain Proteins in Parkinson
July 12, 2019 – Allison Inserro
Deep-Brain Stimulation Improves Some Urinary Function in Patients With Parkinson Disease
July 03, 2019 – Jaime Rosenberg

Early Study Using Roundworms Finds Probiotic Protective Against Parkinson Disease

Gianna Melillo
A new study released in Cell Reports found a common gut bacterium that boosts digestive health may also help guard against Parkinson disease.
A new study published in Cell Reports found a common gut bacterium that boosts digestive health may also help guard against Parkinson disease (PD).

The probiotic Bacillus subtilis strain PXN21 can slow and even reverse build-up of the protein α-synuclein, which is associated with PD. In the brains of patients with PD, α-synuclein “misfolds and builds up, forming toxic clumps. These clumps are associated with the death of nerve cells responsible for producing dopamine. The loss of these cells causes the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's, including freezing, tremors, and slowness of movement,” according to the study's researchers.

The study was conducted on roundworms altered to produce the human version of α-synuclein. Bacillus subtilis, when introduced in the roundworms, was effective in protecting against build-up of the harmful α-synuclein protein and was able to clear formed protein clumps. As a result, movement symptoms associated with PD improved in the roundworms. The researchers also found, “The bacteria was able to prevent the formation of toxic α-synuclein clumps by producing chemicals that change how enzymes in cells process specific fats called sphingolipids.”

The encouraging outcomes prompted the researchers to suggest the next steps of confirming results in mice, followed by clinical trials. They say the probiotic is already commercially available, which means clinical trials can be fast-tracked.

Previous studies have documented how fecal transplants from patients with PD to mouse models exacerbated symptoms of PD, suggesting differences in microbiota can impact the disease’s progression and are not merely a result of PD, as well as shown that PD symptoms and α-synuclein pathology begin in peripheral tissues, specifically the intestine, and that as the disease progresses, the protein aggregates spread to brain regions.

“Preclinical evidence suggests that the gut microbiota and intestinal permeability modulate behavior, mood, and neuropsychiatric disorders,” researchers have noted.

PD is one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders in the world, and currently there is no cure. The research manager at Parkinson’s UK, Beckie Port, PhD, said of the results, “Studies that identify bacteria that are beneficial in Parkinson's have the potential to not only improve symptoms but could even protect people from developing the condition in the first place.” Parkinson’s UK funded the Cell Reports study.


Goya ME, Xue F, Sampedro-Torres-Quevedo C, et al. Probiotic Bacillus Subtilis protects against a-synuclein aggregation in C. Elegans. Cell Rep. 2020;30(2):367-380. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.12.078.

Related Articles

Gut Microbiome Associated With Minimal Residual Disease Negativity in Multiple Myeloma
Study Probes Key Receptor Signaling That Goes Awry in Parkinson
Study Targets Cannabinoid Receptor to Ease Parkinson Symptom of Dyskinesia
Researchers Investigate Novel Paradigm Connecting MS to Hygiene Hypothesis, Microbiome
Poll Finds 1 in 4 People With Parkinson Disease Misdiagnosed
Copyright AJMC 2006-2020 Clinical Care Targeted Communications Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Welcome the the new and improved, the premier managed market network. Tell us about yourself so that we can serve you better.
Sign Up