The standard medication used to treat Parkinson’s is Levodopa, a drug that initially has major benefits but can later also produce serious side effects in the form of involuntary, jerky movements. A research group at Lund University has now found a way to study what it is in the brain that causes these side effects.
The jerky and unpredictable movements that form the side effects of the medication are known as dyskinesias. It is clear that dyskinesias are caused by long-term use of Levodopa, but researchers have been divided on the exact details of the mechanisms behind them and there has been no good way to study them in laboratory animals. This is what the Lund researchers have now developed.
“We use a harmless virus that introduces a small gene into the nerve cells. In a process involving several stages, the gene causes the nerve cells to stop producing dopamine, without destroying them”, explains Ayse Ulusoy. She has recently defended a thesis that includes these studies.
In a patient with Parkinson’s disease, the nerve cells that produce dopamine die. However, at the same time other cells in the brain also suffer changes. This makes it very difficult to find out which of these changes causes the dyskinesias.
In the new model system that Ayse and her colleagues have developed, the laboratory rats’ nerve cells otherwise function normally. This is what makes it possible to see what causes the dyskinesias, the unpleasant side effect of the Parkinson’s medication.
“We have seen that they are linked to the ‘fibre terminals’ on the nerve cells that should release dopamine. These new findings open up great opportunities to improve the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in the long run”, says neurologist Gurdal Sahin.
Ayse Ulusoy and Gurdal Sahin are members of Professor Deniz Kirik’s research group at Lund University.
The group has recently published its results in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Deniz Kirik believes that the study will be of great international interest, because Parkinson’s disease exists around the world and the side effects of the medication have long been seen as a very serious problem.
For more information, please contact Deniz Kirik, +46 (0)733 822586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ingemar Björklund | idw
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences