Breaking News
January 15, 2019 - AHA: New Cholesterol Guidelines Put Ethnicity in the Spotlight
January 15, 2019 - Different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking
January 15, 2019 - Henry Marsh shares insights into neurosurgery and more at Dean’s Lecture Series
January 15, 2019 - Want to Live Longer? For Just 30 Minutes a Day, Do Anything Else But Sit
January 15, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Targets
January 15, 2019 - Plain packaging sparked tobacco price rises, new study finds
January 15, 2019 - Sedentary lifestyles can be unhealthy, physical activity can lower risk
January 15, 2019 - Gut microbiome may help prevent development of cow’s milk allergy
January 15, 2019 - Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals more likely to suffer severe substance use disorders
January 15, 2019 - New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Positive Results of the Pivotal Trial of Cablivi (caplacizumab) for Rare Blood Clotting Disorder
January 15, 2019 - Levels of inflammatory marker (CRP) linked to housing type and tenure
January 15, 2019 - Three gifts I’m glad I gave myself in 2018
January 15, 2019 - Columbia’s Pediatrics Department Names New Vice Chairs, Expands Leadership
January 15, 2019 - US FDA Accepts Regulatory Submissions for Review of Tafamidis to Treat Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy
January 15, 2019 - Staying fit can cut your risk of heart attack by half
January 15, 2019 - Vitamin D supplements are of no gain to those over 70, study shows
January 15, 2019 - Scientists create comprehensive new method to predict breast cancer risk
January 15, 2019 - Research shows connection between social media use and impaired risky decision-making
January 15, 2019 - FDA Approves Expanded Use of Adacel (Tdap) Vaccine for Repeat Vaccination
January 15, 2019 - Treating spinal pain with replacement discs made of ‘engineered living tissue’ moves closer to reality
January 15, 2019 - Providers Walk ‘Fine Line’ Between Informing And Scaring Immigrant Patients
January 15, 2019 - Outcomes Poorer for Medicaid Beneficiaries With STEMI
January 15, 2019 - Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe
January 15, 2019 - A dream of sustainable surgery in Uganda
January 15, 2019 - Study shows how herpes viruses and tumors have learned to manipulate the same ancient RNA
January 15, 2019 - Common Heart, Diabetes Meds May Help Ease Mental Illness
January 15, 2019 - Stress and trauma in earliest years linked to reduced hippocampal volume in adolescence
January 15, 2019 - Scientists identify endogenous activator of sigma-1 receptors in human cells
January 15, 2019 - MAR treatments unlikely to be cause of premature or low birth weight babies
January 15, 2019 - Parental CPTSD increases transmission of trauma to offspring of Tutsi genocide survivors
January 15, 2019 - High-fat diets shown to increase blood pressure
January 15, 2019 - New institute for food safety to be established in Netherlands
January 15, 2019 - Keele University researchers receive £2.4 million grant to help reduce overprescribing of opioids
January 15, 2019 - Synthetic compound reverses mutant p53 aggregate accumulation, study shows
January 15, 2019 - First elder care robot tested in a WSU smart home apartment
January 15, 2019 - Oxford researchers explore relationship between technology use and adolescent mental health
January 15, 2019 - From microbiome research to healthier and sustainable foods
January 15, 2019 - How coaching moms and dads improves infants’ language skills
January 15, 2019 - Precision health approach tapped to identify causes of poverty
January 14, 2019 - DNA origami can accurately measure how antibodies interact with several antigens
January 14, 2019 - Researchers identify multiple new subtypes of most common childhood cancer
January 14, 2019 - Total Fertility Rates Vary by State
January 14, 2019 - Elevated blood lead level in early childhood associated with increased risk of academic problems in school-aged children
January 14, 2019 - Superior technique identified that can block CRISPR gene editing
January 14, 2019 - Turning breast cancer cells into fat cells prevents the formation of metastases
January 14, 2019 - Review examines what influences HIV-positive patients to stay on antiretroviral drugs in Africa
January 14, 2019 - Identifying genetic factors that lead to squamous cell carcinoma
January 14, 2019 - Virtual video visits can replace office visits without compromising quality of care
January 14, 2019 - Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2019
January 14, 2019 - Scientists uncover how protein clumps damage cells in Parkinson’s
January 14, 2019 - Physician-scientist’s “indomitable spirit” prevails over personal adversity
January 14, 2019 - King’s researchers receive £1.25 million to investigate fatal eating disorder
January 14, 2019 - UCR researchers uncover how plants sense temperature
January 14, 2019 - Scientists find link between colitis and colon cancer
January 14, 2019 - New skin patch provides long-acting contraceptive protection
January 14, 2019 - Asparagine synthetase deficiency – Genetics Home Reference
January 14, 2019 - Improved stem cell approach could aid fight against Parkinson’s
January 14, 2019 - New class of sleeping pill preserves ability to wake in response to danger signals
January 14, 2019 - Cancer patients are four times more likely to commit suicide
January 14, 2019 - The human brain works in reverse order to retrieve memories
January 14, 2019 - Simple tips can lead to better food choices
January 14, 2019 - Meth’s Resurgence Spotlights Lack Of Meds To Combat The Addiction
January 14, 2019 - TARA Biosystems and Insilico Medicine collaborate to discover novel therapies for cardiac disease
January 14, 2019 - Early life stress in mice affects their offspring behavior
January 14, 2019 - Depression Tied to Worse Asthma Outcomes in Urban Teens
January 14, 2019 - Santa calorie counting
January 14, 2019 - Opiod prescriptions for pet dogs misused by their masters
January 14, 2019 - People with ASD could be better at recognizing regret and relief in others finds study
January 14, 2019 - Conducting ChIP-Seq with Low Cell Numbers
January 14, 2019 - Study explores support and social networks of family carers of people with dementia
January 14, 2019 - At Risk for an Opioid OD? There’s an App for That
January 14, 2019 - Single national electronic health record will help improve care in Canadian hospitals
January 14, 2019 - Study unearths Britain’s first speech therapists
January 14, 2019 - Study reveals nuances of racial inequalities in breast cancer prevention
January 14, 2019 - Air pollution can raise the risk of miscarriage among women finds study
January 14, 2019 - An extra meal a day cuts deaths by half in elderly with hip fractures
January 14, 2019 - Researchers report vision-based neurotransmitter events for the first time
January 14, 2019 - Pharmacists could significantly reduce ED crowdedness
January 14, 2019 - PTSD linked with cardiovascular disease and cancer, study shows
January 14, 2019 - New analytic model can accurately predict patients at risk of developing PTSD
New brainstem changes identified in Parkinson’s disease

New brainstem changes identified in Parkinson’s disease

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: Newcastle University

A pioneering study has found that patients with Parkinson’s disease have more errors in the mitochondrial DNA within the brainstem, leading to increased cell death in that area.

Experts at Newcastle and Sussex universities also revealed that surviving brain cells in the brainstem have more copies of mitochondrial DNA and this has not been identified before.

The study’s deeper understanding into Parkinson’s disease suggests a new target for therapies for patients with the debilitating condition.

Researchers say their findings, published in Annals of Neurology, are “surprising” as the results differ from what has been seen in studies of brain regions that harbor other brain cell-types.

Dr. Joanna Elson, a mitochondrial geneticist at Newcastle University, said: “Our study is a major step forwards in gaining an enhanced insight into the serious condition.

“Only by understanding the complexities of what happens in specific cell-types found in specific areas of the brain during this disease can targeted treatments for Parkinson’s disease be produced.”

Changes in cell DNA

Research shows that in Parkinson’s disease a brainstem region called the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) develops changes in DNA found in mitochondria—the batteries of the cell—as they produce and store energy that cells can use.

This study looked at cholinergic neurons that are responsible for producing the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is released by cholinergic nerve cells to send signals from one neuron to another.

Death of these cells in the PPN is believed to be the cause of some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as problems with attention, walking and posture.

Identifying changes in the mitochondrial DNA in PPN cholinergic neurons has the potential to allow the development of more effective treatments targeted to specific cell-types.

The PPN is an understudied part of the brain and researchers used post-mortem tissue from the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, based at Newcastle University, to isolate single neurons for in-depth analysis.

Dr. Ilse Pienaar, a neuroscientist at Sussex University, said: “At present, treatments are aimed at the whole brain of patient’s with Parkinson’s disease.

“Only by understanding the complexities of what happens in specific cell-types found in specific areas of the brain during this disease can targeted treatments be produced.

“We believe that not only would cell-specific targeted treatments be more effective, but they would also be associated with fewer side-effects.”

The PPN was of interest because, in previous studies, patients with Parkinson’s disease displayed lower levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in remaining dopaminergic neurons.

This study showed that mtDNA levels are higher in the surviving cholinergic neurons of the brainstem, but with both cell-types that undergo profound degeneration during Parkinson’s disease.

The finding identifies how vulnerable cell groups react and respond differently to the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA damage seen in the disease, highlighting the need for cell-specific treatments.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years. It is estimated that around one in 500 people in the UK are affected by the condition.

Dr. Elson said: “This is the only study to date to characterise mitochondrial DNA errors in cholinergic neurons, a neuronal population that is highly vulnerable to cell death in Parkinson’s disease patients.

“With this work, we are beginning to understand the role that changes in mitochondrial DNA play in the death of cholinergic neurons, which has been shown to be pivotal in the onset and progression of motor and non-motor Parkinson’s disease symptoms.”

The team is now aiming to continue with further research to investigate the findings and test the mechanisms by which targeted treatment could be delivered to patients.


Explore further:
New technique negotiates neuron jungle to target source of Parkinson’s disease

More information:
Alexander G. Bury et al. Mitochondrial DNA changes in pedunculopontine cholinergic neurons in Parkinson disease, Annals of Neurology (2017). DOI: 10.1002/ana.25099

Journal reference:
Annals of Neurology

Provided by:
Newcastle University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles