Does the appendix serve as a collection point for disease-causing proteins?
The exact triggers of Parkinson's disease are still unclear. The place of origin has long been suspected in the digestive system. In the largest study of this type, American scientists have now found that a reservoir of proteins is formed in the appendix, which are associated with the development of Parkinson's disease. The researchers were able to prove that removal of the appendix reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's.
A team of researchers from the American Van Andel Institute in Michigan identified the appendix as a source of disease-causing proteins that favor Parkinson's. Removing the appendix early reduces the likelihood of developing the disease by up to 25 percent. This is the result of the largest and most comprehensive study of this type, which was recently published in the scientific journal "Science Translational Medicine".
Parkinson's originates from the digestive system
With the result, the researchers also consolidated the thesis that Parkinson's develops in the digestive tract. As the team showed, the appendix is the main reservoir for abnormally precipitated alpha-synuclein proteins, which are closely related to the onset and progression of Parkinson's disease. "Our results point to Apendix as the place of origin for Parkinson's and offer a way for the development of new treatment strategies," explains lead author Viviane Labrie in a press release.
Is our appendix useless and promotes illness?
"Despite its reputation for being largely redundant, the appendix actually plays an important role in our immune system," explains Labrie. It is important in the regulation and composition of our intestinal flora. However, the appendix is also a potential trigger for Parkinson's, as the latest study shows.
The appendix is only involved as a trigger
As the research team reports, patients showed a clear risk reduction in developing Parkinson's disease if the appendix was removed a few years earlier. However, removal after the onset of the disease had no effect on progression. The team concludes that the worm process is particularly involved in the development process.
Triggers still not clear
According to the researchers, however, the proteins cannot be the sole triggers. The team also found the toxic alpha-synuclein proteins in the appendix of healthy people of all ages. "We were surprised that pathogenic forms of alpha-synuclein are so widespread in the worm processes of people with and without Parkinson's," said Dr. Bryan Killinger. Although these proteins are toxic in the brain, they appear to be normal in the appendix. This suggests that their presence alone cannot be the cause of the disease.
Looking for further connections
“So there has to be another mechanism or connection between how the appendix affects the development of the disease,” summarizes Labrie. The team wants to check this in another study. Other studies have already identified a link between Parkinson's and the immune system. An aggressive immune system is also suspected of being a possible cause of Parkinson's.
Parkinson's - previously incurable
Parkinson's disease has so far been incurable. However, early diagnosis and early treatment may delay progression. It is all the more important to know the early warning signs of the disease. These are early symptoms of Parkinson's:
- Shaking hands,
- Affected people sit a lot,
- Trouble getting up,
- Olfactory perception is reduced,
- Sleep disorders with intense dreams,
- Discomfort when urinating,
- speaking softly,
- Swallowing problems,
- cramped handwriting,
- Affected people increasingly isolate themselves,
- Movements seem slower and more awkward
- more often strained neck,
- chronic fatigue,
- inner unrest. (vb)