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Proteins in migration
Date:5/24/2013

This news release is available in German.

In Parkinson's disease, the protein "alpha-synuclein" aggregates and accumulates within neurons. Specific areas of the brain become progressively affected as the disease develops and advances. The mechanism underlying this pathological progression is poorly understood but could result from spreading of the protein (or abnormal forms of it) along nerve projections connecting lower to upper brain regions. Scientists at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn have developed a novel experimental model that reproduces for the first time this pattern of alpha-synuclein brain spreading and provides important clues on the mechanisms underlying this pathological process. They triggered the production of human alpha-synuclein in the lower rat brain and were able to trace the spreading of this protein toward higher brain regions. The new experimental paradigm could promote the development of ways to halt or slow down disease development in humans. The research team headed by Prof. Donato Di Monte presents these results in the scientific journal "EMBO Molecular Medicine".

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the nervous system. It typically manifests itself with motor disturbances, such as an uncontrollable trembling of the limbs, as well as non-motor symptoms, including sleep disorders and depression.

At the present, no cure exists for Parkinson's disease, although symptomatic intervention, including treatment with dopamine agonists, can alleviate patients' motor impairment. Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, after Alzheimer's disease; it is estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 patients are affected by Parkinson's disease in Germany alone.

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Contact: Marcus Neitzert
marcus.neitzert@dzne.de
49-228-433-02271
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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