杰克•弗兰那根 2018年6月 6日
Hope for Parkinson’s patients as scientists discover taking vitamin B3 can stop nerve cells from dying off in what could be a ’starting point’ for treatment
• The Vitamin B3 could also help restore function in nerve cells with Parkinson’s
• The study found that introducing the vitamin restored the cell’s ’power cells’
• An experiment with flies replicated the results, in which fewer nerve cells died
• ’Vitamin B3 may be a new starting-point for treatment,’ a study author said
By JACK FLANAGAN FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 14:26 BST, 6 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:30 BST, 6 June 2018
A cure for Parkinson’s disease could revolve around vitamin B3, a study suggests.
German researchers have found that taking a form of the vitamin can stop nerve cells from dying off.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Around 140,000 people in the UK and nearly one million in the US suffer from Parkinson’s. But there is currently no cure.
The new University of Tübingen and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research study could change that and offers a ’new starting point’ for treatment.
How was the study carried out?
Skin cell samples were taken from Parkinson’s disease patients and turned into nerve cells for the experiment.
The cells contained the GBA gene, a risk gene frequently found in people with the disease, which causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
As expected, the mitochondria – described as the powerhouses of cells - in these nerve cells did not function properly.
They also produced less energy than normal cells, according to the study, published in the journal Cell Reports.
The researchers, led by Dr Michela Deleidi, ’fed’ the cells nicotinamide riboside, a form of the vitamin B3. It is important in the formation of new mitochondria.
Giving the nerve cells doses of the vitamin allowed new mitochondria to form and energy production increased.
A second experiment
The researchers then decided to feed flies with the GBA gene nicotinamide riboside to observe the effects in a living organism.
Flies with the enriched feed were able to stave off the effects of Parkinson’s longer and showed less nerve cell die-off.
Commenting on the study, Dr Deleidi said: ’Administering [B3] may be a new starting-point for treatment.’
Scientists still do not know exactly what causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to start developing.
However, recent research suggests the parts of the brain that die off in Parkinson’s cases have damaged mitochondria.
The new study backs up the evidence and ’suggests the loss of mitochondria does indeed play a significant role’, Dr Deleidi added.
Claire Bale, Head of Research Communications at Parkinson’s UK, told the MailOnline: ’These new findings build upon previous experiments which show how important niacin – a form of vitamin B3 – may be for keeping brain cells healthy and working properly.
’However, as with previous studies, this research was carried out in the lab using skin cells and fruit flies so we now really need to understand whether these encouraging findings hold true in people.
’There is currently a clinical trial underway in the US investigating the effect of treatment with niacin in people with Parkinson’s and results are expected in late 2019.
’Some vitamins, when taken in large doses, can have side effects so it’s vital that people consult a health professional for advice before deciding to take any form of dietary supplement.’
WHAT IS PARKINSON’S? THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.
The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016