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 email@example.com.
Ingemar Björklund | idw
A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells
01.03.2017 | Duke University
Humans have three times more brown body fat
01.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
01.03.2017 | Life Sciences