Ulcer bacteria may contribute to development of Parkinson's disease

May 22, 2011, American Society for Microbiology

The stomach bacteria responsible for ulcers could also play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease according to research presented today at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"Infection of late middle-aged mice with a particular strain of the bacteria results in development of symptoms after 3-5 months," says Traci Testerman of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, who presented the research. "Our findings suggest that H. pylori infection could play a signficant role in the development of Parkinson's disease in humans."

Physicians have noted a correlation between and Parkinson's disease as far back as the 1960s, before it was even known that H. pylori was the cause of ulcers. More recently, a number of studies found that people with Parkinson's disease were more likely to be infected with the , and that Parkinson's patients who were treated and cured of infection showed slight improvement compared to controls that continued to deteriorate.

In Guam, a study of why some populations had a high risk of developing a Parkinson's-like disease discovered that a specific compound in cycad seeds eaten by these populations was neurotoxic. The compound, which resembles a cholesterol with an attached sugar group, is almost identical to a compound produced by H. pylori.

Testerman and her colleagues developed an to more effectively understand the role of H. pylori and its modified cholesterol in Parkinson's disease. They infected young and aged mice with three different strains of the bacteria and monitored their locomotor activity and dopamine levels in the brain. Mice infected with one of the strains showed significant reductions in both.

"The results were far more dramatic in aged mice than in young mice, demonstrating that normal aging increases susceptibility to Parkinsonian changes in mice, as is seen in humans," says Testerman.

In order to determine whether the modified cholesterol or other substances could be responsible for Parkinson's disease development, they fed aged mice with H. pylori extracts. The mice did not become infected but developed the same symptoms as those infected with the bacteria, suggesting that the modified cholesterol or some other product contained within the contribute to disease development.

"Our mouse model demonstrates a direct effect of H. pylori infection on the development of Parkinson's disease. The observation that not all H. pylori strains are equally able to cause symptoms will allow us to investigate bacterial factors and/or immune response to H. pylori infection that increase the risk for Parkinson's disease," says Testerman.

Explore further: Probiotic identified to treat ulcers

Related Stories

Probiotic identified to treat ulcers

February 24, 2011
Researchers from Spain have identified a strain of probiotic bacteria that may be useful in treating ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori. They report their findings in the February 2011 issue of the journal Applied and ...

Common stomach bacteria may fight off inflammatory bowel disease caused by Salmonella

November 1, 2010
Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacterium, reduced the severity of inflammation of the colon caused by Salmonella in mice, according to research from U-M Medical School scientists.

Preventing gastric cancer with antibiotics

March 12, 2010
Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found in about 50% of humans worldwide, can cause stomach ulcers and, in extreme cases, gastric cancer. In an article for F1000 Medicine Reports, Seiji Shiota and Yoshio Yamaoka discuss the ...

Stomach ulcer bug causes bad breath

November 24, 2008
Bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and cancer could also be giving us bad breath, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology. For the first time, scientists have found Helicobacter ...

Early treatment of stomach infection may prevent cancer

May 1, 2008
Based on research using a new mouse model of gastritis and stomach cancer, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that prompt treatment of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections reverses ...

Going from ulcers to cancer

August 22, 2008
Researchers have uncovered a big clue as to why some of the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers pose a greater risk for serious problems like stomach cancer than others; it turns out these bacteria can exploit the surrounding ...

Recommended for you

Clay fights MRSA, other superbugs in wounds

August 21, 2018
The use of mud or wet clay as a topical skin treatment, or poultice, is a common practice in many cultures. In fact, the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to the earliest times.

Largest oral HPV study in England shows infection rates lower than expected

August 20, 2018
Infection rates of high risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) oral infection in England are lower than expected, compared to previous US studies.

Tibetan sheep highly susceptible to human plague, originates from marmots

August 16, 2018
In the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, one of the region's highest risk areas for human plague, Himalayan marmots are the primary carriers of the infectious bacterium Y. pestis. Y. pestis infection can be transmitted to humans and ...

Autoimmunity plays role in development of COPD, study finds

August 16, 2018
Autoimmunity plays a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study led by Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center that analyzed human genome information ...

Reliable point-of-care blood test can help prevent toxoplasmosis

August 16, 2018
A recent study, performed in Chicago and Rabat, Morocco, found that a novel finger-prick test for infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy—and many other potential applications—is 100 percent sensitive ...

Scientists identify nearly 200 potential tuberculosis drug targets

August 16, 2018
Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Nearly 2 million people die every year from this infectious disease, and an estimated 2 billion people are chronically infected. The only vaccine, developed almost ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.