Smoking causes cancer, but it could protect against Parkinson’s disease. This has been demonstrated by various epidemiological studies, according to which there exists an inverse relationship between smoking and the probability of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The link is not however 100% clear, as some smokers develop the illness nevertheless. The hypothesis is that there is a genetic predisposition that, in combination with environmental factors, can trigger the disease. Taking this as its starting point, a team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN (USA) has carried out a study on a sample of 1228 subjects. The team includes Maurizio Facheris, a researcher at the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), previous Research Fellow at the prestigious American clinic and who co-ordinated the study.
The researchers hypothesized that the variation may be due to pharmacogenetic effects and that nicotine might have neuroprotective properties for certain individuals.
“We asked the interviewees to tell us about their relationship with smoking and then compared this data with the presence or absence of variations in the gene CYP2A6, which encodes the enzyme responsible for metabolising nicotine”, says EURAC researcher Maurizio Facheris, neurologist at the Department of Neurology of Bozen/Bolzano Central Hospital and main author of the study.
From an analysis of the data, it emerges that the presence of a particular variant of the gene, when combined with smoking, considerably reduces the risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease. It remains to be clarified whether the protection against the disease is provided by the particular variant of gene CYP2A6 or by the presence of cotinine, the substance into which nicotine is transformed through the action of the gene. “If this second hypothesis is confirmed, producing a cotinine-based drug would be a means to reduce exposure to the disease”, explains Maurizio Facheris.The study opens up interesting scenarios in the field of pharmacogenetics, a discipline that holds that variations in different patients’ response to pharmacological treatment depends on genetic factors. Under this view, analysing the patients’ DNA will allow us to predict their reaction to a particular drug and thus enable the development of personalised medicines.
The study was presented at Toronto on the occasion of the annual convention of the American Academy of Neurology, and was selected as among the top 5% of over 2,000 articles received. It was the first study of its kind to be presented.
Laura Defranceschi | idw
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences