Exposure to iron during the first weeks of life in combination with exposure later in life to a common herbicide may contribute to the subsequent degeneration of brain cells associated with the onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to a new study in mice. The findings also showed that a compound that protects cells in the body from damage from certain forms of oxygen, a kind of antioxidant, could suppress such neural degeneration.
Previous studies indicated that both early exposure to iron and later exposure to the herbicide paraquat independently increase oxidative stress—an environment in which damage from levels of reactive oxygen is more likely—in dopamine-producing regions of the brain, areas that are affected by PD. Julie Andersen, PhD, and her team at the Buck Institute for Age Research found that feeding iron to newborn mice made them more susceptible to paraquat, which increases levels of harmful forms of oxygen and damages dopamine-producing neurons as they grew older. The study appears in the June 27 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
“The importance of the study is that it points to a possible role of common mechanisms triggered by iron and paraquat as important in PD, and suggests that therapies that block their effects would be worth testing in patients,” says Marie-Francoise Chesselet, MD, PhD, of UCLA, who did not participate in the study.
Ten-day-old mice were fed iron for a week. At ages from two months to two years, they were then exposed to paraquat for three weeks. By examining their brains, Andersen and her team found that by the time the mice were a year old, early iron consumption exacerbated damage to brain cells caused by paraquat exposure. The effect was even more pronounced at two years of age, the human equivalent of 60–70 years.
A subset of mice that received the antioxidant at the same time that they were exposed to paraquat exhibited reduced levels of dopamine-producing neuron death, suggesting they were protected from oxidative damage. Aging is the single major risk factor for PD, but the findings from Andersen and her colleagues show that exposure during the neonatal period may play a crucial role in the development of late-onset PD.
Future studies are likely to explore the role of antioxidants in helping to prevent and treat symptoms of PD, says Andersen. “The present findings suggest that antioxidants may be a viable therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as PD.”
Sara Harris | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences