Active exercise slows down the death of neurons in Parkinson’s disease and help to maintain motor and cognitive skills.

Deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein (pink spots) in the brain. (Photo by Parkinson’s UK /

It is known that active exercise can ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but what happens in the neurons at the molecular level remains a mystery. To solve it, partly possible the researchers from the University of Colorado in Denver in an article in PLoS ONE , they write that the exercises inhibit the accumulation of toxic protein deposits in neurons of the brain.

Parkinson’s disease, like other neurodegenerative diseases, is associated with massive loss of nerve cells, especially those that are responsible for controlling movement. It is believed that neurons die because of certain proteins that for some reason gets into cells very much. In the case of Parkinson’s disease the protein alpha-synuclein.

Neurodegenerative diseases can be studied on animals: in the brain of mice and rats will accumulate protein deposits to move animals will be worse, and then start and cognitive problems when they start dying cells not only in the motor centers, but also in other areas of the brain.

It turned out that mice with Parkinson’s disease, which from the beginning of the disease was put in a cage hamster wheel and running in it three months, move and think better than mice that did not run. Moreover, the running mice in neurons ceased to accumulate alpha-synuclein.

Further experiments showed that the effectiveness of the exercises depends on the gene DJ-1. If the gene worked fine in the muscles and brain fitness weakened the symptoms of the disease, if the gene was switched off, the disease developed, as usual, and, in addition, mice with mutant DJ-1 are poorly run; in other words, DJ-1 is needed in order to move normally.

It is known that people with mutations in DJ-1 in Parkinson’s disease develops earlier and faster than usual. About the protein, which is recorded in DJ-1, it is known that it protects cells from oxidative stress, in addition, as shown by the authors, it prevents the formation of toxic protein deposits.

As it is associated with the fitness and General motor activity remains to be seen; but, perhaps, acting on this gene with the help of some drugs can strongly inhibit or even stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

According to the materials of MedicalXpress.