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

Genomic dark matter activity connects Parkinson's and psychiatric diseases

September 20, 2018
Dopamine neurons are located in the midbrain, but their tendril-like axons can branch far into the higher cortical areas, influencing how we move and how we feel. New genetic evidence has revealed that these specialized cells ...

Gene therapy shown to remove core component of Parkinson's disease

September 14, 2018
An international team led by Rush researcher Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., has moved a step closer to developing a treatment to clear brain cells of a protein that is an integral cause of Parkinson's disease. The team published ...

ADHD may increase risk of Parkinson's disease and similar disorders

September 12, 2018
While about 11 percent of children (4-17 years old) nationwide have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the long-term health effects of having ADHD and of common ADHD medications remains understudied. ...

New high-throughput screening study may open up for future Parkinson's disease therapy

September 11, 2018
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder in the world. PD patients suffer from shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking. It is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the loss ...

Marmosets serve as an effective model for non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease

September 5, 2018
Small, New World monkeys called marmosets can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop, according to a new study by scientists at Texas Biomedical ...

Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson's disease

August 28, 2018
Scientists have revealed a novel brain network that links pain in Parkinson's disease (PD) to a specific region of the brain, according to a report in the journal eLife.

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.