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Know your enemy
Date:4/25/2014

rain when Parkinson's disease occurs and develops is absolutely necessary, not only for the prevention and treatment of symptoms, but also for possibly developing a cure one day.

However, getting to know the enemy is no easy task when it comes to understanding Parkinson's disease. The more we find out, the more complex the image becomes.

We already know that the disease as well as other neurological disorders arises because some protein structures in the body start clumping together. They stack themselves on top of each other and gradually form what are known as fibrils long, thin needle-shaped structures. From a biochemical point of view, this is quite a boring process because the protein structures simply pile themselves on top of each other and in principle can continue to do so forever.

It is far more interesting to look at the intermediate stages leading up to the aggregation. It turns out here that when the proteins form fibrils, a kind of intermediate aggregation process also takes place to form oligomers, which consist of a small number of protein molecules that clump together. It is presumably the oligomers that kill the nerve cells and cause the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. So oligomers are the enemy we want to control.

Ground-breaking new knowledge about the enemy

In their two studies, the researchers from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Cambridge provide the most well-documented description of oligomers to date. Until now, the general perception was that oligomers were precursors of the fibrils. As it turns out, however, it is rather the antagonists or competitors of the fibrils that are the precursors, and these are capable of slowing down the formation of fibrils.

The researchers discovered that there are different kinds of oligomers. If we look at the size, there are two types that are quite intimately connected. A somewhat small oligomer that
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Contact: Daniel Otzen
dao@inano.au.dk
45-20-72-52-38
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert

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