Breaking News
November 20, 2018 - Health sector coalition urges Government to safeguard patients in future UK-EU relationship
November 20, 2018 - Study evaluates second-hand marijuana smoke exposure among children
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify three genes responsible for recurrent molar pregnancies
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify multisystem disorder caused by bi-allelic variants in CCDC47 gene
November 20, 2018 - Dining Out With Allergies Is Tough, But These Steps Can Help
November 20, 2018 - Breastfeeding protects infants from antibiotic-resistant bacteria
November 20, 2018 - AI matched, outperformed radiologists in screening X-rays for certain diseases | News Center
November 20, 2018 - Adolescents increasingly choose marijuana over cigarettes, alcohol
November 20, 2018 - World’s first medical imaging scanner produces diagnostic scan of the whole human body
November 20, 2018 - Cytocybernetics receives NIMH award to move into neuronal drug development
November 20, 2018 - Recreational drug may help people regain trust in others
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify gene vital for post-stroke recovery
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify novel target for neuron regeneration, functional recovery in spinal cord injury
November 20, 2018 - Skeletal imitation reveals how bones grow atom-by-atom
November 20, 2018 - Autism behaviors show unique brain network fingerprints in infants
November 20, 2018 - Location matters for inflammation clearance
November 20, 2018 - Towards finding a druggable cancer target
November 20, 2018 - Ultragenyx Announces Intent to Submit New Drug Application to U.S. FDA for UX007 for the Treatment of Long-chain Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders in Mid-2019
November 20, 2018 - Cooling ‘brains on fire’ to treat Parkinson’s
November 20, 2018 - Less pollution could increase the average lifespan of Copenhageners by an entire year in 2040
November 20, 2018 - Abramson Cancer Center becomes the 28th member institution of National Comprehensive Cancer Network
November 20, 2018 - The plug and play time-resolved spectrometer from PicoQuant
November 20, 2018 - Breakthrough technology offers new hope to people with glaucoma, retinitis and macular degeneration
November 20, 2018 - New report highlights key focus areas to help cancer screening realize its full potential
November 20, 2018 - International experts to discuss strategies to maintain spatial orientation in old age
November 20, 2018 - Low-protein, high-carb diet may promote healthy brain ageing
November 20, 2018 - Scientists discover new inhibitor that decreases lung inflammation
November 20, 2018 - Participation project calls for relaxing research ban on germline interventions
November 20, 2018 - Karyopharm’s Selinexor Receives Fast Track Designation from FDA for the Treatment of Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma
November 20, 2018 - Arthritis by the Numbers: Book of Trusted Facts & Figures
November 20, 2018 - Drug homing method helps rethink Parkinson’s
November 20, 2018 - AHF commends the passage of global AIDS funding in the House, calls for swift approval
November 20, 2018 - The search for new psychiatric disorder treatments
November 20, 2018 - New research offers hope for simpler way to diagnose and treat cancer
November 20, 2018 - Study sheds light on the infection mechanism of influenza virus
November 20, 2018 - Storage failures of eggs and embryos gain a new perspective
November 20, 2018 - Buyers of short-term health plans: Wise or shortsighted?
November 20, 2018 - Study indicates that frogs in virus-exposed groups breed at young age
November 20, 2018 - FDA Alerts Health Care Professionals and Patients Not To Use Sterile Drug Products from Pharm D Solutions
November 20, 2018 - Asthma may contribute to childhood obesity epidemic
November 20, 2018 - Live probiotics can change existing gut flora and alter immune response
November 20, 2018 - Researchers to explore the enigmatic role of unstructured protein in regulating circadian function
November 20, 2018 - Many patients with adenomas do not receive colonoscopy within recommended time frame
November 20, 2018 - Drug used to treat PTSD does not reduce suicidal thinking, may worsen nightmares and insomnia
November 20, 2018 - In-person social contact may offer protection against depression and PTSD symptoms
November 20, 2018 - Routine HCV testing in correctional facilities can best identify and treat disease, say researchers
November 20, 2018 - Molecular DNA analysis could facilitate more accurate prognosis, treatment of aggressive brain tumors
November 20, 2018 - Breast Cancer Recurrence Rate Not Up With Autologous Fat Transfer
November 20, 2018 - Beta 2 Microglobulin (B2M) Tumor Marker Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 20, 2018 - Could bariatric surgery make men more virile?
November 20, 2018 - Urine test to check if patients take their medications will save the NHS money, say researchers
November 20, 2018 - Study reveals impact of residual inflammatory risk on clinical outcomes after PCI
November 20, 2018 - RNAi therapy shown to alleviate preeclampsia
November 20, 2018 - Replacement of dysfunctional microglia has therapeutic potential for neurodegenerative diseases
November 20, 2018 - Forming 3D Neuronal Models of the Brain
November 20, 2018 - Shoulder ultrasounds could be used to predict diabetes
November 20, 2018 - SGLT2 Inhibitors for Diabetes Linked to Increased Risk for Amputation
November 20, 2018 - Stem cell transplant cements Arizona men’s father-son bond
November 20, 2018 - Scientists try to develop portable systems that can quickly produce biologics on demand
November 20, 2018 - Automating Data Capture and Image Analysis in Continuous Experiments
November 20, 2018 - New drug shows promise for treating people with peanut allergy
November 20, 2018 - Researchers develop novel mouse model to study immunomodulatory therapies
November 20, 2018 - “Britain must not go backward on antibiotic controls to appease US trade deals” – Jim Moseley, CEO of Red Tractor
November 20, 2018 - Widespread errors in ‘proofreading’ cause inherited blindness
November 20, 2018 - Reaping the benefits of living longer
November 20, 2018 - New Program Hopes to Make Early Detection and Treatment of ALS a Reality
November 19, 2018 - Artificial bone-like substance mimics the way real bone grows at atomic level
November 19, 2018 - FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation To RGX-181 Gene Therapy For The Treatment Of CLN2 Form Of Batten Disease
November 19, 2018 - Systemic mastocytosis – Genetics Home Reference
November 19, 2018 - Eye trauma secondary to falls in older adults increasing
November 19, 2018 - Empowering women in India to improve their health: A Q&A
November 19, 2018 - Researchers have trained a computer to analyze breast cancer images and classify tumors
November 19, 2018 - New glucose binding molecule could be key to better metabolic control for diabetics
November 19, 2018 - Biologists uncover novel genetic control of lipid maintenance and its potential connection to lifespan
November 19, 2018 - Warmer winters may set scene for higher rates of violent crimes
November 19, 2018 - Personalized program of physical exercise effective in reversing functional decline in the elderly
November 19, 2018 - Acacia Pharma Resubmits Barhemsys New Drug Application
November 19, 2018 - PDL1 (Immunotherapy) Tests: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 19, 2018 - Transforming pregnancy research with a smartphone app
November 19, 2018 - Stanford Medicine magazine explores how digital technology is changing health care
Researchers examining Parkinson’s resilience

Researchers examining Parkinson’s resilience

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
C. elegans, seen here as hundreds living on a plate viewed through the lens of a microscope, share roughly half their genes with humans. Credit: University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Diseases have a spectrum of risk, even those partially embedded in genes such as Parkinson’s disease.

Less than 10 percent of those with Parkinson’s can pinpoint their genes as the only culprit, while scores of others with some genetic markers are diagnosed with the disease. Still others have markers to develop Parkinson’s, but do not.

Why? Research underway at The University of Alabama, supported by the National Institutes of Health, hopes to identify factors and methods through which individuals are either resilient or susceptible to the neurodegeneration in the brain as part of the disease.

“If we can pinpoint some of the factors that cause this distinction in resilience, then we can use them as a new therapeutic angle,” said Dr. Guy Caldwell, University Distinguished Research Professor in biological sciences.

Caldwell, along with doctoral student Brucker Nourse, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, will work with tiny roundworms known as C. elegans, which share roughly half their genes with humans. Its basic features allow inexpensive and rapid testing for a range of neurological diseases, and UA researchers can induce Parkinson’s-like effects in the worm for testing.

Even though the worms are essentially clones of each other from hermaphroditic reproduction, some animals develop Parkinson’s-related effects while others do not, Caldwell said.

“We can learn from both the healthy and non-healthy,” he said. “We hope we find genes that would potentially be part of a protective program.”

Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, is estimated to afflict between 7 and 10 million people worldwide with approximately 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year. Current therapies include treating the symptoms of the disease such as tremor and involuntary shakes, but there is no cure or treatment to halt the disease’s progression.

Hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease are the loss of cells, or neurons, that send information to other parts of the brain, specifically neurons that produce a type of chemical known as dopamine, along with the accumulation, or clumping, of proteins in the neurons.

To work, proteins must fold properly within cells. When extra copies or mutations of the protein alpha-synuclein are present in dopamine-producing neurons, a series of misfoldings can occur, leading to aggregation of proteins. Such protein aggregation within the brain’s dopamine-producing neurons can lead to their malfunction or cell death, triggering the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

When a Parkinson’s patient begins to exhibit symptoms of the disease, they have likely lost up to 80 percent of the dopamine neurons in their bodies, Caldwell said.

Since the worms all have an identical genetic code, Caldwell and Nourse are investigating how the genes of the worm are modified, or expressed. The turning off and on of genes from outside forces is known as epigenetics, and how external factors influence genetic performance is a big part of disease research, Caldwell said.

The research does not attempt to identify the external influences – after all, a worm has different stresses than a human – rather Caldwell hopes to determine which of the worm’s genes, among those shared with humans, are associated with resilience to dopamine neuron loss.

“We’re looking to bring together the unknown environmental causes and the known genetic causes in ways to potentially identify previously unknown protective factors and a previously unknown protective mechanism,” Caldwell said.

Previous research published in the journal Science that Caldwell participated in uncovered a protein that regulated dopamine neuron survival. In fact, the research led to the discovery of a small molecule that protected neurons from dying. The molecule worked in several animal models and in human cells in the lab, but was later found not to cross what’s known as the blood-brain barrier in humans, a sort of filter protecting the brain from unneeded materials.

In this newly funded research, Caldwell explores an exciting relationship he discovered whereby the same protective protein known to regulate dopamine function might also influence gene expression.

“That combination of regulating epigenetics and regulating dopamine levels and functions is the big mystery of Parkinson’s. We really think this is a nexus of what might happen,” Caldwell said. “There’s promise there that if you can find a molecule to modulate that mechanism, and it crosses the blood-brain barrier, it might work at halting progression of the disease.”


Explore further:
Researchers find new path to promising Parkinson’s treatment

Journal reference:
Science

Provided by:
University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles