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Huntington's disease breakthrough equals hope for patients
Date:2/22/2011

. "The protein DRP1 is needed for mitochondrial division. We found that in Huntington's disease, DRP1 becomes overactive and causes too much mitochondrial division without balancing fusion."

That production error causes the brain's nerve cells to die. The UCF team toned down the activity of DRP1, which restored a normal balance of mitochondrial division and fusion and improved the energy metabolism and survival of neurons.

Other scientists in the field say the discovery is an important step toward eventually finding a cure.

"It is an outstanding piece of work, which further implicates mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease," said Flint Beal, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University who specializes in the disease and is a practicing physician. "It opens new therapeutic targets for therapies aimed at disease modification."


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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zenaida.kotala@ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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