Navigation Links
Parkinson gene: Nerve growth factor halts mitochondrial degeneration
Date:1/30/2014

This news release is available in German.

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease involve the death of thousands of neurons in the brain. Nerve growth factors produced by the body, such as GDNF, promote the survival of the neurons; however, clinical tests with GDNF have not yielded in any clear improvements. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and their colleagues have now succeeded in demonstrating that GDNF and its receptor Ret also promote the survival of mitochondria, the power plants of the cell. By activating the Ret receptor, the scientists were able to prevent in flies and human cell cultures the degeneration of mitochondria, which is caused by a gene defect related to Parkinson's disease. This important new link could lead to the development of more refined GDNF therapies in the future.

In his "Essay on the Shaking Palsy" of 1817, James Parkinson provided the first description of a disease that today affects almost 280,000 people in Germany. The most conspicuous symptom of Parkinson's disease is a slow tremor, which is usually accompanied by an increasing lack of mobility and movement in the entire body. These symptoms are visible manifestations of a dramatic change that takes place in the brain: the death of large numbers of neurons in the Substantia nigra of the midbrain.

Despite almost 200 years of research into Parkinson's, its causes have not yet been fully explained. It appears to be certain that, in addition to environmental factors, genetic mutations also play a role in the emergence of the disease. A series of genes is now associated with Parkinson's disease. One of these is PINK1, whose mutation causes mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria are a cell's power plants and without them, a cell cannot function properly or regenerate. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and their colleagues from Munich and Martinsried have now discovered a hitherto unknown link that counteracts mitochondrial dysfunction in the case of a PINK1 mutation.

The PINK1 gene emerged at a very early stage in evolutionary history and exists in a similar form for example in humans, mice and flies. In the fruit fly Drosophila, a mitochondrial defect triggered by a PINK1 mutation manifests in the fraying of the muscles. Less visible, the flies' neurons also die. The scientists studied the molecular processes involved in these changes and discovered that the activation of the Ret receptor counteracts the muscle degeneration. "This is a really interesting finding which links the mitochondrial degeneration in Parkinson's disease with nerve growth factors," reports Rdiger Klein, the head of the research study. Ret is not an unknown factor for the Martinsried-based neurobiologists: "We already succeeded in demonstrating a few years ago in mice that neurons without the Ret receptor die prematurely and in greater numbers with increasing age," says Klein.

The Ret receptor is the cells' docking site for the growth factor GDNF, which is produced by the body. Various studies carried out in previous years showed that the binding of GDNF to its Ret receptor can prevent the early death of neurons in the Substantia nigra. However, clinical studies on the influence of GDNF on the progression of Parkinson's in patients did not lead to any clear improvement in their condition.

The new findings from basic research suggest that the mitochondrial metabolism is boosted or re-established through Ret/GNDF. "Based on this finding, existing therapies could be refined or tailored to specific patient groups," hopes Pontus Klein, who conducted the study within the framework of his doctoral thesis. This hope does not appear to be completely unfounded: The scientists have already discovered a Ret/GDNF effect in human cells with a PINK1 defect similar to that observed in the fruit fly. It may therefore be possible to search for metabolic defects in the mitochondria of Parkinson's patients in future. A specially tailored GDNF therapy could then provide a new therapeutic approach for patients who test positively.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Rüdiger Klein
rklein@neuro.mpg.de
49-898-578-3151
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Long-term spinal cord stimulation stalls symptoms of Parkinsons-like disease
2. Investigating the link between Parkinsons and pesticides
3. Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinsons disease from pesticides
4. Gene-silencing study finds new targets for Parkinsons disease
5. UCLA, Emory researchers find a chemical signature for fast form of Parkinsons
6. Why psychosis is frequently associated with Parkinsons disease?
7. Lasers might be the cure for brain diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons
8. Absence of the SMG1 protein could contribute to Parkinsons and other neurological disorders
9. Rare childhood disease may hold clues to treating Alzheimers and Parkinsons
10. PD map: Putting together the pieces of the Parkinsons puzzle
11. Garvan Institute receives grant to research role of long non-coding RNAs in Parkinsons disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parkinson gene: Nerve growth factor halts mitochondrial degeneration
(Date:3/30/2017)... KONG , March 30, 2017 The ... a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking ... into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use in ... at an affordable cost. ... ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... CHICAGO , March 29, 2017  higi, the ... ecosystem in North America , today ... Partners and the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment ... extensive set of tools to transform population health activities ... and lifestyle data. higi collects and secures ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... N.Y. , March 27, 2017  Catholic ... Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for ... EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, CHS ... of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical record ... for its high level of EMR usage in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/14/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 14, 2017 , ... The ... Trials event, which will take place on September 6, 2017 at the Marriott ... MD , Head of Experimental Medicine, Informatics, and Regulatory Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Research Lab, ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... A staple in the community for more than ... important key elements including a new digital marketing strategy and updated logo. , As ... Miller has partnered with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center for the month ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... “There is an increasing ... alternatives to synthetic ingredients,” said Matt Hundt, President of Third Wave Bioactives. “Combining ... presence and know-how of Biorigin will allow us to bring truly novel fermented ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... Teachers from three ... From August 14th through the 16th, the University City Science Center will kick ... of 2016, provides Philadelphia-based middle school educators an opportunity for professional development related ...
Breaking Biology Technology: