Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have averted the onset of neurodegenerative disease in fruit flies by administering medication to flies genetically predisposed to a disorder akin to Parkinsons disease.
The result suggests a new approach to the treatment of human disorders including Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases. Penn biologist Nancy M. Bonini and graduate student Pavan K. Auluck report the finding in the November issue of Nature Medicine.
Parkinsons disease is the second most common human neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by tremors, postural rigidity and progressive deterioration of dopaminergic neurons in specific areas of the brain. Despite the evolutionary gulf separating humans and fruit flies, neurotoxicity unfolds in a similar manner in both species. Like humans, Drosophila melanogaster experiences neuronal loss upon expression of alpha-synuclein, a protein implicated in the onset of Parkinsons disease in both species.
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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