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Pesticides and Parkinson's: UCLA researchers uncover further proof of a link
Date:1/4/2013

lly, it develops rapidly and it is transparent, making the observation and measurement of biological processes much easier. By using a fluorescent dye and counting the neurons, the researchers discovered there was significant neuron loss in the fish but only to the dopaminergic neurons. The other neurons were left unaffected.

Until now, evidence had pointed to one particular culprit a protein called α-synuclein in the development of Parkinson's. This protein, common to all Parkinson's patients, is thought to create a pathway to the disease when it binds together in "clumps" and becomes toxic, killing the brain's neurons. (See UCLA research using "molecular tweezers" to break up these toxic aggregations.)

The identification of ALDH activity now gives researchers another target to focus on in trying to stop this disease.

"We've known that in animal models and cell cultures, agricultural pesticides trigger a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson's," said Bronstein, who directs the UCLA Movement Disorders Program. "And epidemiologic studies have consistently shown the disease occurs at high rates among farmers and in rural populations. Our work reinforces the hypothesis that pesticides may be partially responsible, and the discovery of this new pathway may be a new avenue for developing therapeutic drugs."


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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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