Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unfolding pathogenesis in Parkinson’s – Breakthrough suggests damaged proteins travel between cells

19.01.2011
The misfolding of abnormal proteins in brain cells is a key element in Parkinson’s disease development. A recent study suggests that the sick proteins slowly move between cells, eventually triggering the destruction of the new host cell.

The discovery could potentially lead to new therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases aimed at blocking the spread of protein misfolding throughout the brain.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, reveals that damaged alpha-synuclein proteins (which are implicated in Parkinson’s disease) can spread in a ‘prion-like’ manner, an infection model previously described for diseases such as BSE (mad cow disease).

“This is a significant step forward in our understanding of the potential role of cell-to-cell transfer of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and we are very excited about the findings”, says Professor Patrik Brundin at Lund University, Sweden, who led a team of investigators from research centres in Denmark, France and Portugal.

A previous observation that aggregated alpha-synuclein protein gradually appears in healthy young neurons transplanted to the brains of Parkinson’s patients initially gave rise to the group’s hypothesis of cell-to-cell protein transfer. The theory has now been tested in several cell culture experiments. Dr Christian Hansen, one of the key investigators, explains the importance of the new findings:

“We have now shown that alpha-synuclein not only can transfer from one cell to another, but also that the transferred protein can seed aggregation of alpha-synuclein in recipient cells as well. This could be an important mechanism for the spread of the pathology.”

Transplant trials in mice, performed by Dr Elodie Angot, lead investigator for animal modelling in the study, strengthened the theory of cell-to-cell transfer: “Six months after Parkinson’s disease model mice were transplanted with healthy dopamine neurons, we found that the new brain cells contained human alpha-synuclein, indicating cell-to-cell transfer from the host brain to the transplants.”

These findings add further support to the research group’s hypothesis that protein aggregates crossing cellular membranes contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

Patrik Brundin concludes, “We are one step closer to understanding how the neuropathology spreads throughout the nervous system in Parkinson’s disease, which opens up avenues for new treatments. Hopefully, in the future we will be able to inhibit this spread and slow down the relentless disease progression and worsening of symptoms in patients.”

Corresponding author: Patrik Brundin, Neuronal Survival Unit, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, tel. +46 768 865757, +46 46 222 05 29, patrik.brundin@med.lu.se

Journal of Clinical Invesitgation article: ‘a-Synuclein propagates from mouse brain to grafted dopaminergic neurons and seeds aggregation in cultured human cells’, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI43366.

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://www.jci.org/articles/view/43366

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>