Bacillus subtilus in Parkinson's disease

Exploring the disease-modifying potential of probiotic Bacillus subtilis in Parkinson’s disease

Central to Parkinson’s disease (PD) pathology is the accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) aggregates within Lewy bodies (LB) in the brain. Remarkably, α-syn aggregation has been observed in the gastrointestinal tract up to 20 years before PD motor symptoms manifest. Targeting α-syn aggregation is therefore a major focus of therapeutic efforts to generate disease-modifying interventions for PD. 

PD and the gut microbiome 

The human gut microbiota is an important factor influencing PD. Gut bacteria impact brain function by producing metabolites that enter the bloodstream, trigger immune responses, or modulate neuronal function. Several studies show distinct differences in the microbiota of PD patients compared to healthy controls and found that these correlate with clinical features, suggesting that microbiota variances not only result from the disease but may also influence its progression. 

Effect of Probiotic Bacillus subtilis on α-syn Aggregation

Our collaborators at the University of Edinburgh used a well-characterised Caenorhabditis elegans model of PD to explore the impact of probiotics on α-synuclein aggregation in living animals. They discovered that Bacillus subtilis inhibited and reversed α-syn aggregation when fed to the C. elegans model. This reduction of α-syn aggregation correlated with improved locomotion. See also:  Probiotic Bacillus subtilis Protects against α-Synuclein Aggregation in C. elegans (Cell.com).

From Lab to Clinic

Based on the preclinical work, the probiotic B. subtilis is a strong candidate for a diet-based, disease-modifying therapy for PD. Our collaborative study with the University of Edinburgh aims to explore the disease-modifying potential of probiotic B. subtilis in PD. In a double-blind design over 24 weeks, participants will be randomly assigned B. subtilis or a matched placebo. This interventional non-CTIMP study assesses whether B. subtilis administration influences blood and gut biomarkers relevant to proposed mechanism(s) of action, along with its acceptability as a regular supplement for people with PD. 


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Last updated 3/6/2024