I have been requested to look at the possibility that Parkinson’s Disease (PD) may also be a stable dysfunction gut bacteria. We know from PubMed, the biodiversity of gut bacteria decreases with age. We also read that neurological and behavior changes can be associated with variation in gut bacteria…. So the concept is worth running up the flag pole!
Doing a little searching, we find:
- [May 2011] Helicobacter pylori is associated with Parkinson’s Ref 1,2 – it is interesting to note that this only occurred with middle-aged mice. Does not occur with younger mice.
- There is an ongoing trial “. The investigators are studying changes in the normal population of gut flora and in intestinal permeability and their associations with early Parkinson’s Disease.”
-  Parkinson’s patients are 8 times more likely to have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
-  Parkinson’s patients have abnormal intestinal permeability.
Buried on the internet, was a very interesting paper, “Bacterial Neurotoxicity and Parkinson’s Disease” written as a result of a grant from National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. In summary, it states
“high prevalence of PD found in people who work in the soil or drink well water, these patients may be exposed to factors excreted by soil bacteria”
The paper Identified two bacteria that “fit the bill”
- Streptomyces lividans
- Streptomyces venezuelae
This study is cited in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders: Laboratory Management and … By Joseph J. Jankovic, Eduardo Tolosa, 2007. A further 2009 study is available on PubMed.
However, Streptomyces platensis produces lergotrile, which alleviate tremors in PD. In other words, there appear to be both friend and foe within the same family. Streptomyces avelmitilis also appears to be helpful according to a 2009 study.
One logical exploration is to examine antibiotics that kill Streptomyces. Unfortunately, this family of over 500 species is often used to produce antibiotics and are rarely associated with infections. They produce over two-thirds of the clinically useful antibiotics of natural origin.
The only recognized infections are due to:
- Streptomyces somaliensis
- Streptomyces sudanensis
There is a little treatment information available for other species in this family:
- novobiocin [One study suggesting usefulness], gentamycin [no studies] and doxycycline [2011 Study]
- Rifampicin [1989 Study] – also a neuroprotective and suggested for PD in multiple papers
- amikacin and linezolid [2008 Study] – in this case, a brain abscess was caused by this bacteria. No studies of either with PD.
Studies are in progress to determine how gut bacteria is altered. Evidence indicate that it is. Helicobacter pylori is an easy one to test for and treat when found. There is a only one ghostly finger point at a specific bacteria family: Streptomyces, a family that is usually deemed to be very friendly and gives us many antibiotics. Of course, there may be a dark side to this family, a few species that may produce toxins that results in PD instead of unhealthy bacteria. There are a few antibiotics identified above which could help — but no human studies have been done….
Doxycycline/minocycline and rifampicin are two likely candidates on the basis of both being neuroprotectives alone.