Breaking News
March 20, 2019 - SSB and Novasep collaborate to develop new membrane chromatography systems
March 20, 2019 - Leaky valve repair improves quality of life in heart failure patients
March 20, 2019 - Diattenuation Imaging offers structural information of difficult to access brain regions
March 20, 2019 - Early sports specialization linked to increased injury rates during athletic career
March 20, 2019 - Study brings clarity about milk intake for children with Duarte galactosemia
March 20, 2019 - Allergan Announces FDA Acceptance of New Drug Application for Ubrogepant for the Acute Treatment of Migraine
March 20, 2019 - Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases risk of ADHD among offspring up to three-fold
March 20, 2019 - Pioneering pediatric kidney transplant surgeon Oscar Salvatierra dies at 83 | News Center
March 20, 2019 - F.D.A. Approves First Drug for Postpartum Depression
March 20, 2019 - TB remains a major public health challenge in the European region
March 20, 2019 - Most pills contain common allergens, warn experts
March 20, 2019 - Researchers discover previously unknown mechanism by which cells can sense oxygen
March 20, 2019 - World’s leading source of data on diagnosis, treatments for aortic dissection
March 20, 2019 - Breast cancer relapse predictor may soon be a reality
March 20, 2019 - Researchers identify origin of chronic pain in humans
March 20, 2019 - Two-drug combinations containing calcium channel blocker significantly lowers BP
March 20, 2019 - King’s scientists to monitor air quality exposure of 250 children
March 20, 2019 - Preventative cardioverter defibrillator implantation is of little benefit to kidney dialysis patients
March 20, 2019 - Merck to collaborate with GenScript for plasmid and virus manufacturing in China
March 20, 2019 - FDA Approves Zulresso (brexanolone) for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression
March 20, 2019 - Study examines long-term opioid use in patients with severe osteoarthritis
March 20, 2019 - Retired Stanford professor Edward Rubenstein, pioneer in intensive care medicine, dies at 94 | News Center
March 20, 2019 - Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center to Join Columbia University
March 20, 2019 - Call for halt to human gene editing and designer babies experiments
March 20, 2019 - Study illuminates how hot spots of genetic variation evolved in the human genome
March 20, 2019 - Roundworm study suggests alternatives for treatment of schizophrenia
March 20, 2019 - Sphingotec reports new applications of bio-ADM at 39th ISICEM
March 20, 2019 - Preventing falls through free community-based screenings for older adults
March 20, 2019 - AAOS: Supplement Use Low in Patients With Osteoporosis, Hip Fracture
March 20, 2019 - Does intensive blood pressure control reduce dementia?
March 20, 2019 - Nut consumption could be key to better cognitive health in older people
March 20, 2019 - Drinking hot tea associated with increased risk of esophageal cancer
March 20, 2019 - Androgen receptor plays vital role in regulating multiple mitochondrial processes
March 20, 2019 - NIH announces funding boost for Detroit Cardiovascular Training Program
March 20, 2019 - Study reveals another surgical option for patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears
March 20, 2019 - New robot-guided video game may be effective and low-cost solution for caregivers
March 20, 2019 - Heart Attacks Fall By One-Third Among Older Americans
March 20, 2019 - Data sharing uncovers five new risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease
March 20, 2019 - Does It Make Sense To Delay Children’s Vaccines?
March 20, 2019 - Lack of health insurance may increase Aging immigrants’ risk for cardiovascular disease
March 20, 2019 - Piece of puzzle unlocked in what drives alcohol addiction
March 20, 2019 - Researchers investigate whether Zika reservoirs are found in the Americas
March 20, 2019 - Compounds found in coffee may inhibit growth of prostate cancer
March 20, 2019 - Lab Innovations returns to the NEC on 30 & 31 October 2019
March 20, 2019 - How genes affect tobacco and alcohol use
March 20, 2019 - Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have similar impacts on patients
March 20, 2019 - Individuals with infection history have higher risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome
March 20, 2019 - Nursing home residents benefit from individualized multi-component exercise program
March 20, 2019 - Plant cellulose bone implants are “viable” option to support new bone growth, study finds
March 20, 2019 - Older people living in retirement communities benefit from improved health
March 20, 2019 - UTSA professor helps train first responders to detect prescription opioid overdoses
March 20, 2019 - Biohaven’s Verdiperstat Receives Orphan Drug Designation From FDA For Multiple System Atrophy
March 20, 2019 - Smoking may limit body’s ability to fight dangerous form of skin cancer
March 20, 2019 - Researchers receive $9.7-million grant to develop new hearing-loss treatments for deaf
March 20, 2019 - TGen and ABL sign agreement to distribute new TB test technology
March 20, 2019 - UCD researchers lead development of new urine test to detect prostate cancer
March 20, 2019 - Miniature brains that can move muscles, grown in the lab
March 20, 2019 - Servier and Oncodesign announce research and drug development partnership
March 20, 2019 - FDA warns marketer of unapproved products claiming to treat addiction, chronic pain
March 20, 2019 - TB Medicine Pretomanid Enters Regulatory Review Process in the United States
March 20, 2019 - Breastfeeding can erase effects of prenatal violence for newborns
March 20, 2019 - Tens of Thousands of Heart Patients May Not Need Open-Heart Surgery
March 20, 2019 - Space worries – shingles affecting astronauts says NASA
March 20, 2019 - Study shows how AI can improve physicians’ diagnostic accuracy
March 20, 2019 - Dolomite Bio launches new scRNA-Seq Reagent Kit at AGBT 2019
March 20, 2019 - World’s oldest semen viable for artificial insemination
March 20, 2019 - FDA Approves Zulresso (brexanolone) for the Treatment of Post-Partum Depression
March 19, 2019 - How it manipulates us to tribalism
March 19, 2019 - How can doctors encourage patients to adopt healthier behaviors?
March 19, 2019 - Meet Hal: He's One Sick Robot
March 19, 2019 - Blood test and mathematical model can estimate preterm birth rate in low-resource countries
March 19, 2019 - TAVR procedure safe in patients with unusual valve anatomy
March 19, 2019 - Proteins in the eye may be potential source for cost-effective test to predict Alzheimer’s disease
March 19, 2019 - Opioid Prescriptions Dropped for New Users From 2012 to 2017
March 19, 2019 - New method may better predict the best treatment for burn wounds
March 19, 2019 - “Asian” isn’t specific enough for health data, research suggests
March 19, 2019 - ColumbiaDoctors Presents Honors for Outstanding Commitment to Patient Safety
March 19, 2019 - Innovative model identifies primate species with potential to transmit Zika in the Americas
March 19, 2019 - One-off surgery could offer hope to patients with high blood pressure
March 19, 2019 - Many pet owners interested in feeding their pets with plant-based diet
Researchers trace Parkinson’s damage in the heart

Researchers trace Parkinson’s damage in the heart

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein showing positive staining (brown) of an intraneural Lewy-body in the Substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease. Credit: Wikipedia

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.


Explore further:
What is heart failure?

Provided by:
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles