Navigation Links
St. Louis University scientists identify chemical that triggers Parkinson's disease
Date:10/30/2007

ST. LOUIS - Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have discovered the key brain chemical that causes Parkinsons disease a breakthrough finding that could pave the way for new, far more effective therapies to treat one of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders.

Currently, the main approach for treating Parkinsons disease, which afflicts more than 1.5 million Americans, is to replace dopamine thats lost when the cells that produce it die off and cause the disorder. With this new research, however, scientists can better work toward neuroprotective therapies those that actually block dopamine cells from dying off in the first place.

We believe this work represents a very significant breakthrough in understanding the complicated chemical process that results in Parkinsons disease, said William J. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the studys lead author.

For the first time, weve identified the chemical that triggers the events in the brain that cause this disorder, Burke added. We believe these findings can be used to develop therapies that can actually stop or slow this process.

The scientists findings are published in an early online edition of the journal Acta Neuropathologica (http://www.springerlink.com/content/y875t47212001762/fulltext.html).

The researchers at Saint Louis University were joined in their effort by a team from Washington University in St. Louis.

Parkinsons disease occurs when some nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra die or become impaired. Normally, these cells produce dopamine a vital chemical that allows smooth, coordinated function of the bodys muscles and movements.

When about 80 percent of these dopamine-producing cells die or are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinsons disease begin to appear. These include tremors and shaking, slowness of movement, rigidity and stiffness, and difficulty with balance.

Scientists have long known that a key protein called alpha-synuclein plays a role in the development of Parkinsons disease. Alpha-synuclein is found throughout the brain but in some people, the protein clumps together. This causes the death of the dopamine-producing cells, which in turn causes Parkinsons to develop.

The SLU researchers discovered that dopamine itself actually plays a role in destroying the cells that produce it.

In the process that leads to Parkinsons disease, dopamine is converted into a highly toxic chemical called DOPAL. Using test-tube, cell-culture and animal models, the researchers found that it is DOPAL that causes alpha-synuclein protein in the brain to clump together, which in turn triggers the death of dopamine-producing cells and leads to Parkinsons.

This is very exciting, Burke said. This is the first time that anyone has ever established that it is a naturally occurring byproduct of dopamine that causes alpha-synuclein to aggregate, or clump together. Its actually DOPAL that kicks this whole process off and results in Parkinsons disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Donn Walker
dwalke18@slu.edu
314-977-8015
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University of Manchester makes made-to-measure skin and bones a reality using inkjet printers
2. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
3. Next Generation Body Scanner Launched By The University Of Manchester
4. Roundup®highly lethal to amphibians, finds University of Pittsburgh researcher
5. Green catalyst destroys pesticides and munitions toxins, finds Carnegie Mellon University
6. University of Nevada, Reno research team discovers hormone that causes malaria mosquito to urinate
7. Carnegie Mellon University research reveals how cells process large genes
8. University of Delaware researchers develop cancer nanobomb
9. University of Arizona plant scientists to unravel maize genome
10. Team led by Carnegie Mellon University scientist finds first evidence of a living memory trace
11. University of Utah to help build bionic arm
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal ... new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at ... heels of the deployment of its platform at several ... biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts ... they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. ... here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design company ... as one of the World Economic Forum,s Technology ... companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to manufacture ... the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. The ... Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for their ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
Breaking Biology Technology: