A fruit that affects dopamine neurons

The fruit pictured on the right is called a soursop – a reportedly delicious fruit from the French West Indies that contains very small amounts of a substance that kills dopamine neurons.

Two research studies have looked at the substance – annonacin – and found it to kill off dopamine neurons in test tube trials.

Annonacin is only present in small quantities so occasionally eating soursop should be safe.

However, it is thought that the high rates of treatment resistant Parkinson’s disease in the French West Indies may be linked to high levels of soursop consumption.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the death of dopamine neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway of the brain.

Link to neurotoxicity study on soursop.
Link to study on link with Parkinson’s disease.

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