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: Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons

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

Related Stories

Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons

October 5, 2011
New research suggests that small "seed" amounts of diseased brain proteins can be taken up by healthy neurons and propagated within them to cause neurodegeneration. The research, published by Cell Press in the October 6 issue ...

SUMO defeats protein aggregates that typify Parkinson's disease

July 11, 2011
A small protein called SUMO might prevent the protein aggregations that typify Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a new study in the July 11, 2011, issue of The Journal of Cell Biology.

Recommended for you

Scientists find key to regenerating blood vessels

November 23, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a signaling pathway that is essential for angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. The ...

Surprising roles for muscle in tissue regeneration, study finds

November 22, 2017
A team of researchers at Whitehead has illuminated an important role for different subtypes of muscle cells in orchestrating the process of tissue regeneration. In a paper published in the November 22 issue of Nature, they ...

Study reveals new mechanisms of cell death in neurodegenerative disorders

November 22, 2017
Researchers at King's College London have discovered new mechanisms of cell death, which may be involved in debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

How rogue immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier to cause multiple sclerosis

November 21, 2017
Drug designers working on therapeutics against multiple sclerosis should focus on blocking two distinct ways rogue immune cells attack healthy neurons, according to a new study in the journal Cell Reports.

New simple test could help cystic fibrosis patients find best treatment

November 21, 2017
Several cutting-edge treatments have become available in recent years to correct the debilitating chronic lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis. While the new drugs are life-changing for some patients, they do not ...

Researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

November 20, 2017
Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., ...

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.