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 by the accumulation of abnormal aggregates of a protein called alpha-syn in these dopaminergic nerve cells.

Several previous studies have suggested that the alpha-syn aggregates contribute to PD pathology, so it is possible that an agent that inhibits and/or, better yet, reverses alpha-syn aggregation could be eventually used as a therapy for PD.

Evidence to suggest that agents that disrupt alpha-syn aggregation might have beneficial effects in individuals with PD has now been provided by a team of researchers, at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, who studied a rat model of the disease.

In the study, it was found that a protein that yeast uses to protect itself from protein aggregation (there is no similar protein in mammals), called Hsp104, dramatically reduced both the formation of alpha-syn aggregates and the degeneration of neurons in the brain in a rat mdoel of PD. In vitro studies showed that Hsp104 not only inhibited alpha-syn aggregate formation, but also interacted with mammalian proteins to disassemble them. The authors therefore suggest that Hsp104 should be considered as a potential strategy for the treatment of individuals with PD, after further studies on the safety of introducing Hsp104 into the brain.

Citation: Hsp104 antagonizes alpha-synuclein aggregation and reduces dopaminergic degeneration in a rat model of Parkinson disease, Journal of Clinical Investigation; www.the-jci.org/article.php?id=35781

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Niger battles deadly meningitis epidemic

Related Stories

Quantum dot TVs are unveiled at China tech expo

10 hours ago

At this month's China Information Technology Expo (CITE) event, a headline-maker was the launch of quantum dot televisions, by QD Vision and Konka, the consumer electronics company. QD Vision's calling card ...

A call to US educators: Learn from Canada

12 hours ago

As states and the federal government in the U.S. continue to clash on the best ways to improve American education, Canada's Province of Ontario manages successful education reform initiatives that are equal parts cooperation ...

Recommended for you

Niger battles deadly meningitis epidemic

2 hours ago

Parents cradling sick children in their arms streamed into a treatment centre in Niger's capital Niamey, the victims of a meningitis epidemic that has claimed over 100 lives and appears to be accelerating.

Long lasting anti-hemophilia factor safe in kids

7 hours ago

Children with hemophilia A require three to four infusions each week to prevent bleeding episodes, chronic pain and joint damage. The effect on quality of life can be significant, due to time and discomfort associated with ...

Missouri detective battles flesh-eating infection

12 hours ago

Friends and loved ones of Lee's Summit, Mo., Police Detective Joshua Ward are praying for the 34-year-old married father of three who, even after five surgeries in as many days, remained in critical condition Monday at St. ...

User comments : 0

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.