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Possible susceptibility genes found in neurodegenerative disorder
Date:6/19/2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. An international research team, co-led by scientists at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, have discovered three potential susceptibility genes for development of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease but is resistant to Parkinson's medications. Their report is being published online June 19 in Nature Genetics.

The findings provide a "testable translational hypothesis" as to the development and progression of PSP and may also provide clues into other more common brain disorders brought about by accumulation of tau protein in the brain, researchers say. Those "tauopathies" include some forms of Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other disorders.

"These are promising gene candidates that may help us understand and potentially treat PSP," says neuropathologist Dennis W. Dickson, M.D., a study co-lead author. "While these findings are surprisingly robust, we are still at the very earliest stages of this work. These are excellent candidate genes, but we have to make sure they are true susceptibility genes."

With 29 institutions represented from the United States and Europe, the study is one of the largest international collaborations to date researching PSP, Dr. Dickson says. It is also one of the largest reports on a pathologically confirmed neurological disorder.

Mayo Clinic's contribution was pivotal, he says. With its focus on movement disorders, Mayo Clinic in Florida is a national center for referral of patients with PSP for diagnosis, treatment, and research. I
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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