In a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere, scientists found that a hormone secreted into the blood during endurance, or aerobic, exercise reduces levels of a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease and halts movement problems.
Parkinson’s disease, a neurologic condition that causes people to lose control over their muscles and movements, affects about 1 million people in the U.S.
If confirmed in additional laboratory research and clinical trials, the study could pave the way for a Parkinson’s disease therapy based on the hormone irisin.
For unknown reasons, endurance exercise has long been found to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Previous research showed that a protein called an irisin peptide is released into the blood and increases with endurance exercise.
In the past decade, other laboratories have found that exercise elevates levels of irisin, and there is interest in looking into the connection between irisin and Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease.
In the study, the researchers tested irisin’s effects on mice engineered to have Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
Six months later, mice that received irisin had no muscle movement deficits, while those injected with a placebo showed deficits in grip strength and their ability to descend a pole.
Additional studies of brain cells among the mice given irisin showed that the exercise hormone lowered levels of Parkinson’s disease-related alpha-synuclein between 50% and 80%.
Given that irisin is a naturally produced peptide hormone and seems to have evolved to cross the blood-brain barrier, the researchers think it is worth continuing to evaluate irisin as a potential therapy for Parkinson’s and other forms of neurodegeneration.
If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about a better way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and these vitamins could help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
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The study was conducted by Ted Dawson et al and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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