Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease

December 19, 2011

Stabilizing the cell's power-generating center protects against Parkinson's disease (PD) in a rat model, according to a report published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Mitochondria -- the energy production center of cells -- are damaged in PD, leading to loss of dopaminergic neurons and degeneration of brain function. Taking advantage of the fact that viruses often stabilize mitochondria in order to ensure survival of the cells they infect, a team led by John Sinclair and Roger Barker at the University of Cambridge injected a viral protein called beta2.7, known to protect mitochondria, into rats with a PD-like disease.

Rats injected with this beta2.7 before or after the formation of PD-like performed better on tests of behavior and motor function. Their brains also contained more dopaminergic neurons. Further work is needed to determine if the same approach will also benefit human .

Explore further: SUMO defeats protein aggregates that typify Parkinson's disease

More information: Kuan, W.-L., et al. 2011. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20111126

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Blood pressure hormone promotes obesity

July 28, 2016

New research by University of Iowa scientists helps explain how a hormone system often targeted to treat cardiovascular disease can also lower metabolism and promote obesity.

Open-source drug discovery a success

July 28, 2016

In what is being called the first-ever test of open-source drug-discovery, researchers from around the world have successfully identified compounds to pursue in treating and preventing parasite-borne illnesses such as malaria ...

Researchers solve mystery on how regenerative medicine works

July 28, 2016

A study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine identifies a mechanism by which bioscaffolds used in regenerative medicine influence cellular behavior, a question ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.