Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic Risk Factor Identified for Parkinson’s Disease: Gene Variant Influences Vitamin B6 Metabolism

18.01.2010
An international team of doctors and human geneticists has identified a new genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. The institutions involved in the study were the Institute of Human Genetics of Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München, the Neurological Clinic of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) and the Mitochondrial Research Group of Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

“Our study reveals the interaction of genetic and environmental factors such as dietary habits in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease,” explained Dr. Matthias Elstner of the Neurological Clinic of LMU and Helmholtz Zentrum München, lead author of the study. In addition, this genome-wide expression and association study confirms that vitamin B6 status and metabolism significantly influence both disease risk and therapy response (Annals of Neurology, January, 2010).

Scientists of the two Munich universities and Helmholtz Zentrum München investigated neurons in the brain to determine which genes modify their activity in Parkinson’s disease. Among other findings, the research group detected increased activity of the pyridoxal kinase gene. In a subsequent international cooperation project, the researchers compared this gene in over 1,200 Parkinson patients with the genetic data of more than 2,800 healthy test subjects. In doing so, they discovered a gene variant which increases the risk for Parkinson’s disease and which may lead to a modified quantity or activity of the enzyme pyridoxal kinase (PDXK) in the brain. In combination with genetic association analysis, the innovative method used here – single cell expression profiling of dopaminergic neurons – opens up new possibilities for analyzing genetic risk factors.

PDXK converts Vitamin B6 from food sources into its physiologically active form, which is the prerequisite for the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Parkinson’s disease is linked to the accelerated aging and dying off of neurons that produce dopamine. The decreased synthesis of this neurotransmitter explains most of the disease symptoms: The gradual progression of the neurological disease is accompanied by muscle rigor and tremor and a slowing of movement (bradykinesia). Besides the constraints on daily life caused by these symptoms, the postural instability of the body can lead to dangerous falls. Moreover, in the course of the disease sensory symptoms like paresthesia, vegetative disorders (e.g. bladder dysfunction) and depression as well as other psychological changes can occur.

“Our study elucidates how genetic and environmental factors such as dietary habits interact in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease,“ explained Dr. Matthias Elstner of the Neurological Clinic of LMU and Helmholtz Zentrum München, who is lead author of the study. Dr. Holger Prokisch, head of the research team studying mitochondrial diseases at Helmholtz Zentrum München and TU München, added: “Although this variant is responsible for only a slight contribution to the overall risk for Parkinson’s disease, our findings could aid in developing individualized therapies. “

Further information:
Publication:
“Single cell expression profiling of dopaminergic neurons combined with association analysis identifies pyridoxal kinase as Parkinson’s disease gene”

Elstner et.al., Annals of Neurology, January 2010; DOI: 10.1002/ana.21780

Scientific questions:
Dr. Holger Prokisch
Institute of Human Genetics
Technical University Munich und Helmholtz Zentrum München
Tel: +49 89 3187 2890
E-Mail prokisch@helmholtz-muenchen.de
Press Contact:
Sven Winkler
Head, Communications Department
Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 89 3187 - 3946, Fax +49 (0) 89 3187 - 3324, e-mail: presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Helmholtz Zentrum München is the German Research Center for Environmental Health. As leading center oriented toward Environmental Health, it focuses on chronic and complex diseases which develop from the interaction of environmental factors and individual genetic disposition. Helmholtz Zentrum München has around 1700 staff members. The head office of the center is located in Neuherberg to the north of Munich on a 50-hectare research campus. Helmholtz Zentrum München belongs to the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization, a community of 16 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of 26,500 staff members.

Sven Winkler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History

nachricht New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>