Breaking News
October 17, 2018 - Many healthy children may have metabolic risk factors, finds study
October 17, 2018 - A new antibiotic could be a better, faster treatment for tuberculosis
October 17, 2018 - “I will not become a Robot Doctor”: A medical student vows to practice compassion
October 17, 2018 - Study findings may explain sporadic outbreaks of C. difficile infections in hospitals
October 17, 2018 - Purdue researchers develop new chemical process to find better drug ‘fits’ for patients
October 17, 2018 - Yale researchers develop way to attack RNA with small-molecule drugs
October 17, 2018 - New pragmatic study launched to understand the effectiveness of new type 2 diabetes drug
October 17, 2018 - Alnylam Announces Plan to Initiate Rolling Submission of a New Drug Application and Pursue Full Approval for Givosiran
October 17, 2018 - Nine cases of polio-like illness suspected in children in illinois
October 17, 2018 - Eisai enters into agreement with Eurofarma for development and sales of lorcaserin in 17 countries
October 17, 2018 - Patients once thought incurable can benefit from high-dose radiation therapy
October 17, 2018 - Researchers awarded grant to advance testing of experimental heroin vaccine
October 17, 2018 - Researchers examine SSRI use during pregnancy and major gestational malformations
October 17, 2018 - Study reveals link between childhood abuse and higher arthritis risk in adulthood
October 17, 2018 - FDA Approves Liletta (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52 mg to Prevent Pregnancy for up to Five Years
October 17, 2018 - Weight gain after smoking cessation linked to increased short-term diabetes risk
October 17, 2018 - Researchers find opportunity to control salt-sensitive hypertension without exercising
October 17, 2018 - Women not warned about cancer associated with breast implants
October 17, 2018 - Metrohm offers robust handheld Raman analyzer for Defense and Security
October 17, 2018 - Modeling Non-Numerical Data in Systems Biology
October 17, 2018 - Research aims to address health disparities in African-American men
October 17, 2018 - Human and cattle decoys trap outdoor-biting mosquitoes in malaria endemic regions
October 17, 2018 - High Circulating Prolactin Level Inversely Linked to T2DM Risk
October 17, 2018 - Study finds gene variant predisposes people to both Type 2 diabetes and low body weight
October 17, 2018 - Metrohm software products make it easy to comply with ALOCA and ALCOA+ guidelines
October 17, 2018 - Network of doctors identify the cause of 31 new conditions
October 17, 2018 - Notable improvement in brain cancer survival among younger patients but not much for elderly
October 17, 2018 - Scientists shed light on roles of transcription factors, TP63 and SOX2, in squamous cell carcinoma
October 17, 2018 - Costs of Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program may be higher than expected reimbursement
October 17, 2018 - Misuse of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines associated with suicidal thoughts
October 17, 2018 - New research seeks to address sex disparities in women’s health
October 17, 2018 - C-Section Rates Have Nearly Doubled Since 2000: Study
October 17, 2018 - Talking to Your Kids About STDs
October 17, 2018 - New classification of periodontal and peri-implant diseases and conditions
October 17, 2018 - Herbert D. Kleber, Pioneer in Addiction Treatment, Dies at 84
October 17, 2018 - Health effects of smoke-filled atmosphere
October 17, 2018 - Down syndrome may hold important clues to onset of Alzheimer’s disease
October 17, 2018 - A special report on US’ aging societies
October 17, 2018 - Birth mode may have acute effects on neurodevelopment, study suggests
October 17, 2018 - Global health innovation system fails to deliver affordable treatments to patients, says report
October 17, 2018 - Simple, inexpensive test quickly detects antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’
October 17, 2018 - New drugs could reduce risk of heart disease when added to statins
October 17, 2018 - Visible and valued: Stanford Medicine’s first-ever LGBTQ+ Forum
October 17, 2018 - HVP vaccination not linked with rise in teen risky sex
October 17, 2018 - Potential ‘early warning markers’ for sepsis discovered
October 17, 2018 - Who knew? Life begins (again) at 65
October 17, 2018 - Application of blood pressure guidelines ups treatment
October 17, 2018 - Stanford researchers find that small molecule may help treat enzyme deficiency
October 17, 2018 - Speed Cameras Save Money and Lives in New York City
October 17, 2018 - Men who conform to ‘the man box’ more likely to consider suicide and violence
October 17, 2018 - Researchers aim to create more authentic organoids for drug testing, transplantation
October 16, 2018 - New blood test for pediatric brain tumor patients offers safer approach than surgical biopsies
October 16, 2018 - Age-related estrogen increase may be the culprit behind inguinal hernias in men
October 16, 2018 - Skills-Based Intervention Did Not Cut Systolic BP After Stroke, TIA
October 16, 2018 - Researchers uncover new role of TIP60 protein in controlling tumour formation
October 16, 2018 - Behind the scenes of a lifesaving heart surgery
October 16, 2018 - ‘To See the Suffering’
October 16, 2018 - Drinking concentrated rosemary extract can boost memory by up to 15%, shows research
October 16, 2018 - Medicare Advantage riding high as new insurers flock to sell to seniors
October 16, 2018 - NHS tackles prescription fraud to save millions
October 16, 2018 - New molecular switch may help develop sophisticated photomedications
October 16, 2018 - Improving access to behavioral health screenings for pregnant and postpartum women
October 16, 2018 - Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2018
October 16, 2018 - Study holds promise for new pediatric brain tumor treatment
October 16, 2018 - Patient advocate uses MRI scans to create art and spark conversations about life with illness
October 16, 2018 - Fish oil based diets may suppress growth and spread of breast cancer cells
October 16, 2018 - Number of VHA facilities offering acupuncture has increased rapidly
October 16, 2018 - Influential Leapfrog Group jumps in to rate 5,600 surgery centers
October 16, 2018 - HIV-infected infants more likely to acquire congenital cytomegalovirus infection
October 16, 2018 - Study pinpoints new marker that can predict Crohn’s disease subtype
October 16, 2018 - Simple procedure could be efficacious intervention for failed back surgery
October 16, 2018 - New research identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in elderly people
October 16, 2018 - Zebrafish study uncovers molecular ‘brake’ that helps control eye lens development
October 16, 2018 - Overlapping copy number variations underlie autism and schizophrenia in Japanese patients
October 16, 2018 - Early menopause and diabetes may reduce life expectancy
October 16, 2018 - Majority of Americans’ ancestry can be traced through existing DNA databases
October 16, 2018 - Patients coerced into mental health care less likely to perceive treatment as effective
October 16, 2018 - Healthy elders can consume walnuts without having negative impact on weight gain, finds study
October 16, 2018 - Interactive robot helps older people exercise and detects underlying health problems
October 16, 2018 - What you need to know about autism spectrum disorder
UW-Madison researchers develop new method to track Parkinson’s damage in the heart

UW-Madison researchers develop new method to track Parkinson’s damage in the heart

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A new way to examine stress and inflammation in the heart will help Parkinson’s researchers test new therapies and explore an unappreciated way the disease puts people at risk of falls and hospitalization.

By the time Parkinson’s disease patients are diagnosed — typically based on the tremors and motor-control symptoms most associated with the disease — about 60 percent of them also have serious damage to the heart’s connections to the sympathetic nervous system. When healthy, those nerves spur the heart to accelerate its pumping to match quick changes in activity and blood pressure.

“This neural degeneration in the heart means patients’ bodies are less prepared to respond to stress and to simple changes like standing up,” says Marina Emborg, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical physics and Parkinson’s researcher at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. “They have increased risk for fatigue, fainting and falling that can cause injury and complicate other symptoms of the disease.”

Emborg, graduate student Jeanette Metzger, and colleagues including UW-Madison specialists in cardiology and medical imaging developed a method for tracking the mechanisms that cause the damage to heart nerve cells. They tested the method in the human-like nervous system and heart of monkeys, and published their results today in the journal npj Parkinson’s Disease.

Ten rhesus macaque monkeys served as models for Parkinson’s symptoms, receiving doses of a neurotoxin that caused damage to the nerves in their hearts in much the same way Parkinson’s affects human patients. Once before and twice in the weeks after, the monkeys underwent PET scans — positron emission tomography, a medical imaging technology that can track chemical processes in the body using radioactive tracers.

The UW-Madison researchers used three different tracers, called radioligands, to map three different things in the left ventricle (the strongest pumping chamber) of monkeys’ hearts: where the nerves extending into the heart muscle were damaged, where the heart tissue was experiencing the most inflammation, and where they found the most oxidative stress.

The scans were accurate enough to allow the researchers to focus on changes over time in specific areas of the heart’s left ventricle.

“We know there is damage in the heart in Parkinson’s, but we haven’t been able to look at exactly what’s causing it,” says Metzger, lead author of the study. “Now we can visualize in detail where inflammation and oxidative stress are happening in the heart, and how that relates to how Parkinson’s patients lose those neuronal connections in the heart.”

By tracing the progression of nerve damage and the progression of potential causes of that damage, the radioligands can also be used to test the efficacy of new treatments to protect the neurons that regulate the activity of the patients’ hearts.

The researchers gave half the monkeys in the study a drug, pioglitazone, that has shown promise in protecting central nervous system cells from inflammation and oxidative stress.

“The recovery of nerve function is much greater in the pioglitazone-treated animals,” says Emborg, whose work is supported by the National Institutes of Health. “And what’s interesting is this method allows us to identify very specifically the differences the treatment made — separately for inflammation and for oxidative stress — across the heart.”

The results suggest human patients could benefit from the radioligand scans, and Metzger wonders if it could help catch some Parkinson’s patients before their other symptoms progress.

“Much of the neural degeneration that occurs in the heart can happen very early in the course of the disease. A lot of patients have problems with their heart before they have motor problems,” she says. “While these PET techniques potentially provide a way to test drugs, they may also be used as tools to understand the mechanisms underlying early heart nerve damage.”

The heart problems opened to examination by the new imaging methods are not limited to Parkinson’s disease. Heart attacks, diabetes and other disorders cause similar damage to nerves in the heart, and those patients and potential therapies could also benefit from the new visualization method.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles