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

Flu study, on hold, yields new vaccine technology

September 2, 2015

Vaccines to protect against an avian influenza pandemic as well as seasonal flu may be mass produced more quickly and efficiently using technology described today by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the ...

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

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.