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Link between Helicobacter pylori bacteria and Parkinson's discovered
The development of Parkinson's may be significantly influenced by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. This was reported by an American research team led by Traci Testerman from Louisiana State University at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.
In animal experiments, the researchers were able to prove that an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori causes the typical Parkinson's symptoms. Three to five months after they infected mice with a particular strain of gastric bacteria, the animals showed clear signs of Parkinson's disease, the US researchers around Traci Testerman reported. The scientists suspect that gastric bacteria can also cause an increased risk of Parkinson's in humans.
Link between Parkinson's disease and gastric bacteria discovered The US researchers led by Traci Testerman from the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the Health Sciences Center at Louisiana State University found in their study a possible link between infection with the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the development of Parkinson's disease checked. The Helicobacter pylori bacteria are usually known for their gastric ulcer-causing effects, but the results of the US researchers suggest that the pathogen can also be an important factor in the occurrence of Parkinson's disease. "Our results suggest that H. pylori infection can play a major role in the development of Parkinson's in humans," said Traci Testerman at the American Microbiology Society's annual meeting.
First signs of Parkinson's a few months after infection The researchers examined the effects of Helicobacter pylori infection on mice of various ages. Young and old animals were infected with three different strains of Helicobacter pylori bacteria and then regularly examined in the laboratory. The focus of scientific interest was on checking motor skills and dopamine levels in the brain of the mice, because according to the US researchers, this shows the typical signs of Parkinson's disease. The scientists reported that in one of the Helicobacter pylori strains, the infected mice had typical Parkinson's symptoms about three to five months after infection. This suggests that the corresponding bacterial strain could also favor Parkinson's disease in humans, explained Traci Testerman. In addition, the older mice had significantly more pronounced Parkinson's symptoms than the young animals, the expert explained. Testerman concluded that the normal aging process also increases the susceptibility to Parkinson's in mice. Since only one of the Helicobacter pylori bacterial strains has shown the Parkinson-causing effect, the researchers hope to be able to narrow down the aspects that determine the development of Parkinson's in future studies.
Infections with Helicobacter pylori cause various diseases Overall, bacterial infections with Helicobacter pylori are associated with a large number of different diseases, although these are mostly concentrated on the stomach or the digestive tract. However, a possible connection with a neurological disease such as Parkinson's is new. Gastric diseases for which Helicobacter pylori has been held responsible in the past include increased gastric acid secretion, bacterial gastritis (type B gastritis), gastric ulcers (around 75 percent are believed to be caused by Helicobacter pylori) and duodenal ulcers (almost exclusively caused by Helicobacter pylori). Persistent Helicobacter pylori infections are also considered a risk factor for the development of gastric cancer. (fp)
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