Vit K can help Parkinson's patients

By Caoimhe Moore

Administration of vitamin K2 could restore movement in Parkinson's patients.

Research has shown using vitamin K2 to reverse the effects of one of the genetic malfunctions that can lead to Parkinson's has given hope to Parkinson's patients.

Neuroscientist Patrik Verstreken, associated with the research institute VIB and KU Leuven university in Belgium, used fruit flies to study the mutation of a specific genetic pathway which can lead to Parkinson's.

Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disease and the exact cause is unknown. The symptoms include lack of movement, hesitant speech, tremors and muscle stiffness.

The pathway studied regulates mitochondria, which transports electrons to the cell, providing the cell with energy. Mutation of the pathway can significantly lower the energy supply to the cell.

Lack of energy in a cell has serious consequences - parts of the brain will start to die and neuron communication will be disrupted.

Verstreken and his team found that vitamin K2 improved electron transport in the mitochondria. This in turn led to improved energy production.

Dr Versgtreken said therefore, it appeared that administering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson's. However, more work needed to be done to understand this better.

The study found that fruit flies became paralyzed when the PINK1 and Parkin pathway was mutated. Once the flies were given vitamin K2 their flying ability improved.

This research, it is believed, could potentially provide hope for new treatments for Parkinson's patients.

The study was published in the journal Science.



[Posted: Fri 11/05/2012]

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