How coffee protects against Parkinson's

July 11, 2014, Linköping University

A specific genetic variation discovered by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden protects against Parkinson's Disease – especially for those who drink a lot of coffee.

The study is published in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Hereditary and environmental factors interact with one another in the emergence of diseases, and research is often focussed on identifying genes and exposures that increase the risk for contracting diseases. But there are also genetic variations – mutations – and environmental factors that protect against the emergence of certain diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's have a complicated background where both genetic factors and exposure to are involved.  In a study of a million genetic malformations, the research team identified a variant of the GRIN2A gene as a protective factor against Parkinson's. The corresponding protein is part of a complex that is thought to play a role in several .

An epidemiological study of Parkinson's patients from two counties in south east Sweden examined a combination of a previously known protective factor – caffeine – and the genetic variant in GRIN2A. The findings show that individuals with this combination run a significantly lower risk of developing the disease.

The study gives a molecular explanation to the protective effects that increased has on the development of Parkinson's.  Caffeine integrates with a dopamine receptor that regulates the flow of calcium into the cell. As dopamine is part of the human reward system, and the interaction of caffeine with it, it has been speculated that individuals with certain genetic variations are not "rewarded" to the same extent by a cup of coffee, and therefore would not enjoy the same protective effect as others. The newly published study shows that GRIN2A can be a part of such a genetic predisposition.

The study was conducted with financial support from the Foundation for Parkinson's Research at Linköping University.

Explore further: New insights could help in battle to beat Parkinson's disease

More information: Naomi Yamada-Fowler, Mats Fredrikson och Peter Söderkvist (2014) "Caffeine Interaction with Glutamate Receptor Gene GRIN2A: Parkinson's Disease in Swedish Population." PLoS ONE 9(6): e99294. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099294

Related Stories

New insights could help in battle to beat Parkinson's disease

June 26, 2014
Scientists have taken a step closer to understanding the causes of Parkinson's disease, identifying what's happening at a cellular level to potentially help develop future treatments.

Team explains lower cancer incidence rate in patients with central nervous system disesase

February 20, 2014
Epidemiological studies demonstrate that diseases of the central nervous system such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and schizophrenia protect against cancer. The most remarkable example is Alzheimer's disease, which can reduce the ...

Research uncovers how pesticides increase risk for Parkinson's disease

February 3, 2014
Previous studies have shown the certain pesticides can increase the risk for developing Parkinson's disease. Now, UCLA researchers have now found that the strength of that risk depends on an individual's genetic makeup, which ...

Boost for dopamine packaging protects brain in Parkinson's model

June 17, 2014
Researchers from Emory's Rollins School of Public Health discovered that an increase in the protein that helps store dopamine, a critical brain chemical, led to enhanced dopamine neurotransmission and protection from a Parkinson's ...

Serum iron levels may be causally associated with Parkinson's disease risk

June 4, 2013
Increased iron levels may be causally associated with a decreased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, says a new paper published this week in PLOS Medicine. Irene Pichler from EURAC in Italy and a group of international ...

Connection between genetic variation and immune system, risk for neurodegenerative and other disease

May 1, 2014
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and University of Chicago report findings demonstrating how ...

Recommended for you

The puzzle of a mutated gene lurking behind many Parkinson's cases

November 15, 2018
Genetic mutations affecting a single gene play an outsized role in Parkinson's disease. The mutations are generally responsible for the mass die-off of a set of dopamine-secreting, or dopaminergic, nerve cells in the brain ...

Researchers find inhibiting one protein destroys toxic clumps seen in Parkinson's disease

November 14, 2018
A defining feature of Parkinson's disease is the clumps of alpha-synuclein protein that accumulate in the brain's motor control area, destroying dopamine-producing neurons. Natural processes can't clear these clusters, known ...

Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson's patients, study finds

November 9, 2018
A high-tech form of brain surgery that replaces scalpels with sound waves improved quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease that has resisted other forms of treatment, a new study has found.

Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson's disease

November 7, 2018
Singing may provide benefits beyond improving respiratory and swallow control in people with Parkinson's disease, according to new data from Iowa State University researchers.

Scientists overturn odds to make Parkinson's discovery

November 7, 2018
Scientists at the University of Dundee have confirmed that a key cellular pathway that protects the brain from damage is disrupted in Parkinson's patients, raising the possibility of new treatments for the disease.

Road to cell death more clearly identified for Parkinson's disease

November 1, 2018
In experiments performed in mice, Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified the cascade of cell death events leading to the physical and intellectual degeneration associated with Parkinson's disease.

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.