Getting down to the heart of the (gray) matter to treat Parkinson's disease

April 2, 2012

An agent under consideration for use in PET imaging combats neuronal death to relieve Parkinsonian symptoms in animal models, according to a study published on April 2nd in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including muscle rigidity and tremors, are caused by the loss of dopamine-secreting neurons in the brain. Current therapies aim at increasing and maintaining dopamine levels to correct these motor impairments. However, these approaches do not address the underlying neuronal death that initiated the disease.

David Finkelstein, Kevin Barnham, and colleagues at the University of Melbourne find that the PET imaging agent CuII(atsm) reverses the neurotoxicity that destroys dopamine-secreting neurons. Improvements in motor skills and memory were observed after treatment in four unique animal models of Parkinson's disease. The authors suggest this compound functions as a scavenger of peroxynitrite, whose accumulation is known to promote .

These results point to a potential strategy to restore motor and cognitive function in Parkinson's disease patients by reviving rather than solely masking symptoms.

Explore further: Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's

More information: Hung, L.W., et al. 2012. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20112285

Related Stories

Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's

November 8, 2011
A team of researchers at The University of Western Ontario has demonstrated that elimination of one of the neurotransmitters in the part of the brain associated with Parkinson's disease may improve brain function without ...

New knowledge on the pharmacology of dopamine stabilizers

February 24, 2012
A study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that a new drug for Huntington's disease – pridopidine or dopamine stabiliser ACR16 – might operate via previously unknown mechanisms of action. Researchers have ...

Abnormal oscillation in the brain causes motor deficits in Parkinson's disease

November 1, 2011
The research group headed by Professor Atsushi Nambu (The National Institute for Physiological Sciences) and Professor Masahiko Takada (Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University) has shown that the 'oscillatory' nature ...

Recommended for you

Singing may be good medicine for Parkinson's patients

August 11, 2017
(HealthDay)—Singing? To benefit people with Parkinson's disease? It just may help, a researcher says.

Tracing the path of Parkinson's disease proteins

August 4, 2017
As neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease progress, misfolded proteins clump together in neurons, recruiting normal proteins in the cell to also misfold and aggregate. Cells in which this ...

Diabetes drug shows potential as disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson's disease

August 3, 2017
A drug commonly used to treat diabetes may have disease-modifying potential to treat Parkinson's disease, a new UCL-led study suggests, paving the way for further research to define its efficacy and safety.

Two new studies offer insights into gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson's patients

July 31, 2017
Constipation is one of the most common non-motor related complaints affecting Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Two important studies from the same research group published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease expand the ...

New drug may treat and limit progression of Parkinson's disease

July 31, 2017
Researchers at Binghamton University have developed a new drug that may limit the progression of Parkinson's disease while providing better symptom relief to potentially hundreds of thousands of people with the disease.

A new insight into Parkinson's disease protein

July 28, 2017
Abnormal clumps of certain proteins in the brain are a prominent feature of Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases, but the role those same proteins might play in the normal brain has been unknown.

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.