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Small molecules found to protect cells in multiple models of Parkinson's disease
Date:12/28/2009

FINDINGS: Several structurally similar small molecules appear capable of protecting cells from alpha-synuclein toxicity, a hallmark of Parkinson's disease.

RELEVANCE: Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, and slowed movements. There is currently no cure for the disease, and current Parkinson's therapies only address disease symptoms, not the disease's cellular cause.

Small molecules found to protect cells in multiple models of Parkinson's disease

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (December 28, 2009) Several structurally similar small molecules appear capable of protecting cells from alpha-synuclein toxicity in multiple models of Parkinson's disease, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. Misfolded copies of the alpha-synuclein protein in brain cells are a hallmark of Parkinson's disease.

"In this research, we used yeast as a Parkinson's disease model system to identify the compounds that really work in two higher order model systems of Parkinson's," says Julie Su, a first co-author on the paper describing the research and a former postdoctoral researcher in Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist's lab. "And that shows that those compounds' targets are highly conserved over a billion years of evolution."

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, and slowed movements. In the neurons of Parkinson's patients' brains, researchers have noted Lewy bodies, abnormal spheres composed of the protein alpha-synuclein. There is currently no cure for the disease, and current Parkinson's therapies only address disease symptoms, not the disease's cellular cause.

In their article in Disease Models and Mechanisms (DMM), Lindquist scientists report that four related small molecules prevented the development of several cellular traits associated with Parkinson's disease, including the accumulation of alpha-synuclein deposits in
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Contact: Nicole Giese
giese@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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