The findings of Finnish scientists with their multinational collaborators shed light to the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and early menopause.
Parkinson’s disease affects about 2% of the general population. It is caused by death of such nerve cells that utilize dopamine in their function, located in the brain nucleus called substantia nigra, black matter. The degeneration of these cells leads to for example slow movements, and rigidity. The disease is multifactorial, meaning that it can be the end result of genetic factors, environmental factors, or both.
The Finnish research group FinMIT led by Docent Anu Suomalainen-Wartiovaara studies the energy metabolism of the cell, which happens in the cellular powerplants, the mitochondria. These organelles contain their own DNA, the mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is replicated and repaired by a specific protein, polymerase gamma. If this protein is defective, mitochondrial DNA accumulates mutations, which disturbs the energy production and mitochondrial function.
Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
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