Parkin larvae bring researchers closer to solving Parkinson's disease puzzle
(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University of York have made a significant step forward in isolating the cause of Parkinsons disease in younger adults.
Research by a team in the Universitys Department of Biology found evidence that movement disorders, including tremor and slowness of movement (bradykinesia), associated with Parkinsons disease (PD) may be due to a defect in energy production in the nervous system. The advance may help to identify young adults who may be susceptible to the disease.
Parkinsons, the second most common form of neurodegenerative disease, principally affects people aged over 60, but some forms known as juvenile PD usually start in the 30-40 age group. One in 20 people diagnosed with Parkinson's are under 40 and such early onset PD is often inherited. Previous research has identified the genes which cause the disease and found them to be linked in a common pathway to failure of the mitochondria the power source within each cell.
In the latest research, part-funded by leading research charity Parkinsons UK and published in Human Molecular Genetics, scientists at York studied the effect that parkin, one of the genes which cause juvenile PD, has on the larva of the fruit fly, Drosophila.
They discovered that parkin faithfully models the locomotory defects of PD with a marked reduction in speed, and slower muscle contractions, reminiscent of bradykinesia.
Dr Chris Elliott, who led the study, said: Our experimental evidence confirmed that this was due to a defect in the nervous system. This was important because previous work had suggested a big impact on the muscles, but PD is associated with neuronal failure.
The research team, which included undergraduate and postgraduate students, found that oxygen consumption and the production of ATP (the chief supply of energy inside cells) were drastically reduced. In response, lactate was increased.
The researchers also discovered that parkin larvae showed oxidative stress due to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS; also known as free radicals, such as hydrogen peroxide) which have been suggested as a key component of PD. The study suggested that relieving the ROS had only a marginal effect on mitigating slowed locomotion.
Dr Elliott added: These findings show drastic failure in energy production by parkin larvae, and suggest that biochemicals related to lactate may be worth investigating as biomarkers for the progress of PD.
We believe that the larval bradykinesia is a consequence of neuronal energy deficit, which leads to failure in neural communication. Oxidative stress is a consequence, rather than cause, of PD.
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research and Innovation at Parkinsons UK, comments:
This study shows just how vital models like the fruit fly are in helping us understand what happens to the nerve cells that are affected in Parkinsons.
We already knew that mitochondria were important in Parkinsons but this research suggests that mitochondrial problems may be the root cause of the problems that lead to nerve cell death.
So finding ways to protect and enhance the mitochondria may be the key to treatments that can slow or even stop Parkinsons in its tracks.
More information: Amanda Vincent, Laura Briggs, Griff F.J. Chatwin, Elizabeth Emery, Rose Tomlins, Matt Oswald, C. Adam Middleton, Gareth J.O. Evans, Sean T. Sweeney and Christopher J.H. Elliot, parkin-induced defects in neurophysiology and locomotion are generated by metabolic dysfunction and not oxidative stress, Hum. Mol. Genet. (2012) doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr609 , First published online: January 3, 2012.
Journal reference: Human Molecular Genetics
Provided by University of York
- Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease Dec 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New research helps explain genetics of Parkinson's disease Nov 24, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- New discovery in Parkinson's research Nov 24, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Reprogramming brain cells important first step for new Parkinson's therapy, study finds Dec 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New insight into Parkinson's disease Apr 19, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
Neuroscience 11 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
Neuroscience 11 hours ago | 4 / 5 (2) | 2
One of the major frontiers of modern science is a comprehensive understanding of the human brain and its functions to guide the development of new technologies in information and communication. In a major announcement for ...
Neuroscience 12 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
Neuroscience May 23, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.
Neuroscience May 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 3 |
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Kate O'Reilly's spring allergy survival kit includes the usual stuff - nasal sprays, allergy pills and a box of tissues. This season, she's added a new weapon to her line of defense: an app on her smartphone.
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0