A study group at the Medical University of Vienna's Centre for Brain Research has investigated the function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson’s patients compared to a healthy test group.
It turned out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.
In the brain, dopamine mediates the exchange of information between different neurons and, to help it do this, it is continuously reformed at the contact points between the corresponding nerve cells. It is stored in structures known as vesicles (intracellular bubbles) and it is released when required. In people with Parkinson’s disease, the death of these nerve cells causes a lack of dopamine, and this in turn causes the familiar movement problems such as motor retardation, stiffness of the muscles and tremors.
More than 50 years ago, in the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna (now the MedUni Vienna), Herbert Ehringer and Oleh Hornykiewicz discovered that Parkinson’s disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in certain regions of the brain. This discovery enabled Hornykiewicz to introduce the amino acid L-DOPA into the treatment of Parkinson’s to substitute the dopamine and make the symptoms of the condition manageable for years.
The reasons for the death of nerve cells in Parkinson's disease are not yet fully understood, however, which is why it is still not possible to prevent the disease from developing. Nevertheless, dopamine itself, if it is not stored correctly in vesicles, can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.
Now, a further step forward has been taken in the research into the causes of this disease: a study at the MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Brain Research, led by Christian Pifl and the now 87-year-old Oleh Hornykiewicz, compared the brains of deceased Parkinson's patients with those of a neurologically healthy control group. For the first time, it was possible to prepare the dopamine-storing vesicles from the brains so that their ability to store dopamine by pumping it in could be measured in quantitative terms.
It turned out that the pumps in the vesicles of Parkinson’s sufferers pumped the dopamine out less efficiently. “This pump deficiency and the associated reduction in dopamine storage capacity of the Parkinson’s vesicles could lead to dopamine collecting in the nerve cells, developing its toxic effect and destroying the nerve cells," explains Christian Pifl.
Journal of Neuroscience
Christian Pifl, Alex Rajput, Harald Reither, Javier Blesa, Carmen Cavada, José A. Obeso, Ali H. Rajput, Oleh Hornykiewicz – Is Parkinson’s disease a vesicular dopamine storage disorder? Evidence from a study in isolated synaptic vesicles of human and non-human primate striatum. Journal of Neuroscience
Johannes Angerer | AlphaGalileo
Great apes communicate cooperatively
25.05.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
Rice study decodes genetic circuitry for bacterial spore formation
24.05.2016 | Rice University
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
25.05.2016 | Trade Fair News
25.05.2016 | Life Sciences
25.05.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering