Researchers at the University of Guelph (Canada) have found special proteins in brain cells that cause neurodegeneration in people having Parkinson's disease and have developed new therapy methods to improve quality of life for those people. .
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease. The cause of the disease is often unclear, and existing therapies tend to treat the symptoms rather than to prevent the disease.
According to the new study led by Dr. Scott Ryan, professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Parkinson's disease can be triggered by the unfair distribution of protein called alpha-synuclein that is accumulated in part of the brain called the substantia nigra.
The disease deprives the brain of nerve cells that produce dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that helps control motor function. The folded alpha-synuclein aggregates and eventually spreads to other parts of the brain, impairing areas responsible for mood and cognitive processes.
The research team used stem cells to model neurons with and without Parkinson's disease and looked at the impact of synuclein mutations.
Quality of life of Parkinson's patients can be improved by the new therapy.
They found out that in Parkinson's neurons, the misfolded synuclein binds to another protein called LC3B.
Normally, LC3B targets misfolded proteins for degrading them. The research has showed that in Parkinson's disease LC3 is trapped in protein clusters and inactivated. If not degraded, the cells will push out clusters and then spread to neighboring neurons and throughout the whole brain.
The study concluded that activating LC3B pushes forward the degradation process and allows cells to unfold protein clusters, thus preventing disease progression.
Most present therapies for Parkinson's disease revolve around increasing the release of dopamine. But that only works for a short time and has a lot of side effects, reduces quality of life and is a huge burden on patients, families and health care system, in general.
The results obtained provide a direction for potential drug development as well as therapies that could help improve the quality of life for Parkinson's patients.
Source: Healthy life