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Increased fish consumption may prevent Parkinson’s disease

Increased fish consumption may prevent Parkinson’s disease

The link between higher consumption of fish and better long-term health for the brain has long been established.A recent study focuses that consuming more fish decreases the rate of Parkinson’s disease as well as other neurodegenerative diseases.Increasing the amount of fish in our diet might be a simple way to fight off Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson׳s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.It is estimated that 6.3 million people suffer from PD worldwide. The etiology of Parkinson׳s disease is multifactorial and consists of an interaction between environmental factors and genetic predisposition

A study was done in Chalmers University of Technology by Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor and Head of the Chemical Biology division at Chalmers,and colleagues to evaluate the efficacy of Parvalbumin, a protein found in great quantities in several different fish species, to help prevent the formation of certain protein structures closely associated with Parkinson’s disease.

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The researchers found that parvalbumin can form amyloid structures that bind together with the alpha-synuclein protein. Parvalbumin effectively ‘scavenges’ the alpha-synuclein proteins, using them for its own purposes, thus preventing them from forming their own potentially harmful amyloids later on.

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“Parvalbumin collects up the ‘Parkinson’s protein’ and actually prevents it from aggregating, simply by aggregating itself first,” explains Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede

“Fish is normally a lot more nutritious at the end of the summer, because of increased metabolic activity. Levels of parvalbumin are much higher in fish after they have had a lot of sun, so it could be worthwhile increasing consumption during autumn,” says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and researcher on the study

“Among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, with more fish, one sees lower rates of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” says Tony Werner, a PhD student in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and lead researcher on the study like Japan, where seafood forms a central part of the diet.

Amyloids are misfolded protein aggregates which can interfere with neurons in the brain, killing those cells, and causing a variety of neurodegenerative conditions.

Nathalie Scheers had looked at parvalbumin before in another context.

“I was in a previous study where we looked at possible compliance markers for fish intake. Parvalbumin is a cause of fish allergies, so we knew that it passed over to the blood and that this form of parvalbumin is specific for fish”

She joined forces with Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, and together they took the idea forward.

“Because Nathalie had previously shown that parvalbumin passes into the body of the person eating fish, it made sense to study its interaction with human proteins. We already knew that they can meet in the gut, the blood, or the brain,” explains Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede

Other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease, are also caused by certain amyloid structures interfering in the brain. The team is therefore keen to research this topic further, to see if the discovery relating to Parkinson’s disease could have implications for other neurodegenerative disorders as well

The study has been published in the Journal scientific Reports

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Source: With inputs from Scientific Reports

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