Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurological disease that affects about 1 million people in the United States. Little is known about its causes and hence there is no cure.
"This is an important step forward because the contribution of common genetic risk factors to the development of Parkinson's has long been suspected, but the high quality of data needed to make such discoveries has been missing," says Demetrius Maraganore, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and lead study investigator. "This well-designed and large study provides evidence that common genetic variants contribute to the cause of Parkinson's."
The collaboration included researchers from 11 countries. Their findings will be published in the Aug. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.ama-assn.org/).
In their study, the researchers analyzed clinical and genetic data from 2,692 Parkinson's disease patients and 2,652 healthy subjects who were matched to the Parkinson's patients for age and gender. Results showed that persons with longer lengths of a DNA segment that promotes the activity of a gene known as alpha-synuclein had a 1.5 times greater risk for Parkinson's disease.
Explains Dr. Maraganore, "Our study provides compelling evidence that variability in the alpha-synuclein gene is a risk factor for Parkinson's disease worldwide. The common DNA variants that increase Parkinson's disease risk cause the gene to produce too much alpha-synuclein protein in a process known as overexpression. Our findings support the development of therapies that reduce alpha-synuclein gene expression. Such therapies have the potential to prevent or delay the onset of Parkinson's disease or to halt or slow its progression."
Significance of the Research
Earlier, small studies showed that rare variations (mutations) in the alpha-synuclein gene caused Parkinson's disease in a few isolated families. Further small studies suggested that common variations in the gene, while not sufficient to cause Parkinson's, make people susceptible to the disease.
"However, the results of those small studies were inconsistent," says Dr. Maraganore. "What was lacking was a well-designed, large study to see if common variations in the alpha-synuclein gene contribute to Parkinson's risk worldwide. The current study provides this much-needed evidence. Alpha-synuclein gene variability was associated with Parkinson's disease across several populations."
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences