Probiotics May Reduce Some Inflammation In The Gut In Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Probiotic supplements may prove to be a useful adjunct therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease, a recent study suggests.

The study, “Influence of probiotic bacteria on gut microbiota composition and gut wall function in an in vitro model in patients with Parkinson’s disease, ”Was published in the International Journal of Pharmaceuticals: X.

Although best known for its movement symptoms, Parkinson’s disease also affects the gut. Symptoms such as constipation and gastroparesis, which involve heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and rapid feelings of fullness while eating, can precede motor symptoms by years, or even decades, in some cases.

Changes in the gut microbial population – the gut microbiome – accompany these symptoms, affecting a person’s overall health, as well as the ability to efficiently absorb and metabolize drugs.

Additionally, the gut microbial changes associated with Parkinson’s disease may reflect processes that worsen other symptoms of the disease: Studies have suggested that gut inflammation may trigger the misfolding and clumping of the alpha-protein. synuclein in the walls of the colon and in local immune cells. The aggregation of alpha-synuclein also causes the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger, resulting in symptoms characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.

These alpha-synuclein deposits can then travel from the intestine to the brain via the vagus nerve, one of the longest nerves in the body and part of the enteric nervous system (ENS) that governs the functioning of the digestive tract.

Some previous studies have shown that a probiotic solution of four strains of bacteria called Symprove reduced the severity of several bowel conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and significantly reduced constipation and diarrhea in diverticular disease.

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An international team of scientists from Belgium and the UK conducted a preclinical study to determine whether Symprove could alter the gut microbiome of patients with Parkinson’s disease and whether probiotics could improve other indicators of gut health in these patients. patients.

Due to the complications of performing experiments directly inside people’s gut, the researchers created models of the gut microbiomes of individuals from stool samples taken from three people with Parkinson’s disease. and three healthy witnesses.

Each sample was separated so that one part was fermented in the presence of Symprove for 48 hours, and another part was not.

After this incubation, the researchers compared the changes in: bacterial composition and metabolic activity; the production of inflammatory molecules; how well the cells responded to a simulated injury; and the strength of tight epithelial junctions, connecting proteins that maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier. These junctions appear to weaken in Parkinson’s disease, causing intestinal leakage.

Overall, Symprove significantly altered the bacterial composition of stool samples and was associated with improvements in other measured indicators of gut health.

The Symprove treatment mainly increased the amounts of bacteria in the Actinobacteria and Firmicutes phyla, while reducing those of Bacteroidetes phylum.

While the researchers caution that the results regarding bacterial gut compositions are difficult to interpret, due to a wide variety of variation between individuals, “It is clear from this study,” they wrote, “that even a single dose of probiotic was able to effect a change in microbial diversity in 48 [hours], which means that if the development and / or progression of [Parkinson’s] is influenced by dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, so supplementing the diet with probiotics may be beneficial. “

Symprove also led to increased production of lactate, butyrate and short chain fatty acids (SCFA), higher levels of the anti-inflammatory molecules IL-6 and IL-10, and lower levels of the molecules. pro-inflammatory MCP-1 and IL -8. Both lactate and AGCC are considered important for maintaining good health.

To test for wound healing, the researchers grew a layer of cells in a lab dish to form a thin cell layer. Scientists then scraped off the layer (to create a sore) and added colonic samples from each donor to that layer, measuring how long it took for cells to grow back. Samples grown with Symprove performed better than those grown without, which investigators attribute to the availability of more butyrate.

“Butyrate is the key factor that encourages wound closure and positive results from probiotic dosing result from increased concentrations of AGCC,” they wrote.

The results led the team to conclude that probiotics have potential as an adjunct to standard treatments for Parkinson’s disease, although they caution that the small number of donors used in this study means the results should be interpreted with caution and reproduced in future studies.

“Combined with human and animal data,” they wrote, “[the results] provide a compelling indication that probiotics may be a potential and cost-effective intervention in the management of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Symprove Ltd. funded the studies.

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