Navigation Links
SLU research implicates natural toxin as triggering Parkinson's disease
Date:2/10/2011

ST. LOUIS In new research from Saint Louis University, investigators have found evidence that a toxin produced by the brain is responsible for the series of cellular events that lead to Parkinson's disease. The study, published in PLoS One, found that the brain toxin DOPAL plays a key role in killing the dopamine neurons which trigger the illness.

In earlier research, Saint Louis University investigators found that DOPAL seemed to be responsible for killing healthy dopamine cells, which in turn causes Parkinson disease to develop. Now, research in an animal model gives them further reason to suspect the chemical as the culprit.

Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative movement disorder, affecting 2 percent of individuals older than age 65 and 4 to 5 percent older than 85 years. The disorder is due to a loss of dopamine neurons and is characterized by bradykinesia and tremors while at rest.

Saint Louis University investigators found that DOPAL, a breakdown product of dopamine, killed healthy dopamine cells and produced an animal model of Parkinson's disease, giving them evidence to suspect that DOPAL is the culprit.

Dopamine, a vital chemical that allows for coordinated function of neurons controlling the body's muscles and movements, is produced by nerve cells in the substantia nigra. When 80 percent of these cells die or become damaged, symptoms of Parkinson's disease begin to appear, including tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity and stiffness, and difficulty with balance.

Lead researcher, W. Michael Panneton, Ph.D., professor of pharmacological and physiological science at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, says the research offers a big step forward in the understanding of Parkinson disease.

"In Parkinson disease, we knew that the death of dopamine cells is responsible for patients' symptoms," said Panneton. "But no one knew why the cells are dying."

From a cellular perspective, doctors know some pieces of the puzzle. They know that Parkinson patients have a loss of dopamine neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, leading to severe dopamine loss in another part of the brain called the striatum, and the aggregation of a protein called alpha-synuclein.

Alpha-synuclein is found throughout the brain. In some people, the protein clumps together. Researchers found that it is DOPAL that causes alpha-synuclein protein in the brain to aggregate. This induces further increases of DOPAL leading to the death of the dopamine-producing cells, which in turn causes Parkinson's symptoms to develop.

Currently, the main approach to Parkinson's disease is to treat symptoms by replacing dopamine that's lost when the cells die. This approach however does not prevent the loss of dopamine neurons causing Parkinson's disease.

This new research opens up promising new research avenues to prevent dopamine neuron loss and the progression of Parkinson's disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer
bebermcl@slu.edu
314-977-8015
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New research helps explain how progesterone prevents preterm birth
2. New research helps explain how progesterone preventspreterm birth
3. Single-cell marine predators unique survival mechanisms revealed: UBC research
4. Research helps drivers cut fuel use
5. Boston University School of Medicine researchers receive NIMH brain awards
6. Research team honored for innovative science to advance cancer research
7. Research proves new soybean meal sources are good fish meal alternatives
8. Springer and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research INRA team up
9. Research links 29 genome regions with common form of inflammatory bowel disease
10. Just in time for Valentines Day: UNC researchers identify a gene critical for heart function
11. Johns Hopkins researchers capture jumping genes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... a leading developer and supplier of face and ... the ATA Featured Product provider program. ... created an innovative way to monitor a driver,s ... benefit greatly from being able to detect fatigue ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation ... officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first 30 ... and the USA . The technology was developed and ... by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro ... Release, please click: ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... 5, 2017 RAM Group , ... new breakthrough in biometric authentication based on a ... properties to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are ... created by Ram Group and its partners. This sensor ... supply chains and security. Ram Group is a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The ... three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young ... Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze ... pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ... hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with ... adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal ... the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: