Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease

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 .

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lessons from yeast: A possible cure for Parkinson's disease?

Aug 14, 2008

Parkinson disease (PD) is a debilitating and lethal neurodegenerative disease, for which there is currently no cure. It is caused by the progressive loss of nerve cells that produce the chemical dopamine and is characterized ...

Recommended for you

A better way to track emerging cell therapies using MRIs

Sep 19, 2014

Cellular therapeutics – using intact cells to treat and cure disease – is a hugely promising new approach in medicine but it is hindered by the inability of doctors and scientists to effectively track the movements, destination ...

User comments