Scientists identify protein linked to most common movement disorder

March 4, 2014

A team of researchers from Université Laval and CHU de Québec identified unusually high levels of a certain protein in the brains of people suffering from essential tremor (ET), a movement disorder that affects 4% of the adult population. The discovery, the details of which were published in the most recent edition of the journal Movement Disorders, could lead to an effective treatment for this neurological condition, which is 10 times more prevalent than Parkinson's disease.

As its name suggests, ET causes tremors in various parts of the body—usually the arms, head, and vocal chords. Although onset most often occurs after age 50, cases of ET in childhood have been documented. Over 10 million Americans reportedly suffer from the condition, whose exact cause remains unknown.

"Even though it's not a lethal degenerative disease, essential tremor still poses a serious problem to sufferers, making it extremely difficult to perform basic everyday activities," explains lead researcher Frédéric Calon, a professor at Université Laval's Faculty of Pharmacy.

Calon and his colleagues had access to a brain bank developed more than 40 years ago by University of Saskatchewan professor Ali Rajput to test their hypothesis that the brains of ET sufferers show an overabundance of certain proteins. The researchers focused on two proteins in particular—LINGO1 and LINGO2—which, according to some genetic studies, may be linked to the movement disorder. They measured the concentrations of these proteins in the cerebellums of nine subjects with essential tremor, 10 Parkinson's subjects, and 16 healthy subjects.

Their analyses revealed a concentration of LINGO1 in the cerebellar cortex of people suffering from essential tremor twice that of healthy subjects. This overexpression was even more pronounced in people who had been living with the condition for over 20 years. These differences were not observed in the subjects with Parkinson's.

"Other studies have shown that LINGO1 slows neuroregeneration following damage to the or spinal cord," points out Calon, who is also affiliated with CHU de Québec Research Center. "So we believe that inhibiting this protein could be a promising treatment avenue to explore for . The drugs currently prescribed to people suffering from this neurological condition were developed 30 years ago and their effectiveness is limited."

Explore further: Scientists discover likely cause of most common involuntary movement disorder

Related Stories

Scientists discover likely cause of most common involuntary movement disorder

December 6, 2011
Researchers from the CHUQ research center and Universite Laval have discovered the likely cause of essential tremor (ET), a neurological disorder that affects more than 10 million North Americans. The team's promising findings ...

Focused ultrasound for treating Parkinson's disease to be tested

October 12, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—After a promising clinical trial of focused ultrasound as a potential treatment for essential tremor, the University of Virginia Health System is launching a new study to investigate the scalpel-free technology's ...

AAN releases updated guideline for treating essential tremor

October 19, 2011
The American Academy of Neurology is releasing an updated guideline on how to best treat essential tremor, which is the most common type of tremor disorder and is often confused with other movement disorders such as Parkinson's ...

Shaky hand, stable spoon: Study shows device helps essential tremor patients

February 28, 2014
For people whose hands shake uncontrollably due to a medical condition, just eating can be a frustrating and embarrassing ordeal – enough to keep them from sharing a meal with others.

MRI-guided ultrasound surgery beneficial for essential tremor

August 15, 2013
(HealthDay)—Patients with severe, medication-refractory essential tremor benefit from the use of transcranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy, according to a study published in the ...

Recommended for you

Parkinson's is partly an autoimmune disease, study finds

June 21, 2017
Researchers have found the first direct evidence that autoimmunity—in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues—plays a role in Parkinson's disease, the neurodegenerative movement disorder. The findings raise ...

Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson's disease

June 20, 2017
Parkinson's disease (PD) is commonly thought of as a movement disorder, but after years of living with PD approximately twenty five percent of patients also experience deficits in cognition that impair function. A newly developed ...

Pre-clinical study suggests Parkinson's could start in gut endocrine cells

June 15, 2017
Recent research on Parkinson's disease has focused on the gut-brain connection, examining patients' gut bacteria, and even how severing the vagus nerve connecting the stomach and brain might protect some people from the debilitating ...

Hi-res view of protein complex shows how it breaks up protein tangles

June 15, 2017
Misfolded proteins are the culprits behind amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other neurodegenerative brain disorders. These distorted proteins are unable to perform their normal ...

CRISPR tech leads to new screening tool for Parkinson's disease

June 5, 2017
A team of researchers at the University of Central Florida is using breakthrough gene-editing technology to develop a new screening tool for Parkinson's disease, a debilitating degenerative disorder of the nervous system. ...

Infection with seasonal flu may increase risk of developing Parkinson's disease

May 30, 2017
Most cases of Parkinson's have no known cause, and researchers continue to debate and study possible factors that may contribute to the disease. Research reported in the journal npj Parkinson's Disease suggests that a certain ...

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.