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NIEHS invests $21.25 million to find environmental causes of Parkinson's disease
Date:9/16/2008

ese functions in dopamine neurons. Identifying these mechanisms could lead to new therapeutic targets. In addition, the Emory team will be attempting to develop new biomarkers in the blood that will help identify people that may be at risk for developing Parkinson's disease.

  • Marie-Franoise Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

The researchers at UCLA have previously shown associations between high levels of exposure to specific environmental pesticides and Parkinson's disease and will build on this knowledge to determine the mechanisms of action that may be causing this association. They will use an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to identify additional agricultural pesticides that are disrupting similar molecular pathways, and determine whether these also increase the risk of Parkinson's. Their work is expected to shed light on the pathological processes involved in sporadic Parkinson's disease, the most frequent form of the disorder, and could have public health implications for precautions in the use of some pesticides.

  • Stuart Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, Calif.

Investigators at the Burnham Institute will explore how environmental toxicants may contribute to Parkinson's disease by producing free radical stress that mimics or enhances the effects of known genetic mutations. The focus will be on those proteins known to be related to Parkinson's disease, including parkin, DJ-1 and PINK1, with the goal of determining how chemical reactions that donate extra electrons lead to damaging modifications of these proteins. The clinical implications of these processes will be explored through biomarker development efforts and a screen to identify new lead compounds that can preserve protein function by reducing free radical stress.

"The UCLA and Emory CNS grants will extend the exciting lines of research previously supported by NIEHS thro
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Contact: Robin Mackar
rmackar@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-0073
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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