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JCI online early table of contents: July 12, 2010
Date:7/12/2010

EDITOR'S PICK: Why Parkinson disease patients aren't walking talls

Many of the symptoms of Parkinson disease can be alleviated with drugs that target dompamine, a chemical in the brain that is involved in nerve cell communication and therefore known as a neurotransmitter. However, such drugs do not improve the gait disorders and falls that commonly affect individuals with severe and advanced forms of Parkinson disease. Understanding which nerve cells in the brain are involved in these symptoms of Parkinson disease might provide researchers with new therapeutic targets. In this context, a team of researchers, led by Chantal Franois and Etienne Hirsch, at Universit Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, France, has now determined that the presence of gait disorders in patients with Parkinson disease and in aged monkeys with Parkinson-like disease was associated with loss of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in a region of the brain known as the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN). Consistent with this, disrupting these nerve cells induced gait and postural deficits in monkeys. The authors therefore suggest that targeting acetylcholine-producing nerve cells in the PPN might provide a way to alleviate the gait disorders and falls experienced by individuals with Parkinson disease.

TITLE: Cholinergic mesencephalic neurons are involved in gait and postural disorders in Parkinson disease

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Chantal Franois
Universit Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, CR-ICM, UMR-S975, Paris, France.
Phone: 33.1.42.16.00.68; Fax: 33.1.45.82.88.93; E-mail: chantal.francois@upmc.fr.

Etienne C. Hirsch
Universit Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, CR-ICM, UMR-S975, Paris, France.
Phone: 33.1.42.16.22.02; Fax: 33.1.44.24.36.58; E-mail: Etienne.hirsch@upmc.fr.

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Contact: Karen Honey
press_releases@the-jci.org
734-546-5242
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Source:Eurekalert

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