Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug averts Parkinson’s disease in fruit flies, suggesting new approach for humans

12.11.2002


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 Parkinson’s disease.



The result suggests a new approach to the treatment of human disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Penn biologist Nancy M. Bonini and graduate student Pavan K. Auluck report the finding in the November issue of Nature Medicine.

Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s disease in both species.


"Medications now prescribed to people with Parkinson’s disease, such as levodopa, bromocriptine and deprenyl, relieve symptoms by rescuing neurons compromised by the disease," said Bonini, Penn professor of biology and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Our studies suggest that a new class of drugs might prevent neurodegenerative disorders by fortifying these neurons even before the onset of disease."

Bonini and Auluck fed flies a naturally occurring antibiotic called geldanamycin. When fed geldanamycin-supplemented food as adults, flies with a genetic susceptibility to neurodegenerative disease -- flies that would normally experience a 50 percent loss of dopaminergic neurons by 20 days of age -- maintained normal numbers of these neurons.

Geldanamycin tweaks the activity of Hsp90, one of a class of proteins known as molecular chaperones. Bonini, Auluck and colleagues showed last year that molecular chaperones can block the progression of neurodegenerative disease in Drosophila, suggesting that diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may result from reduced chaperone levels and might be averted by pharmacologically boosting chaperone activity.

Bonini cautions that there are limitations of geldanamycin itself, derivatives of which are now undergoing clinical trials as possible antitumor agents. However, she says these findings should stimulate chemists and pharmaceutical researchers on the trail of a new class of drugs that, by bolstering molecular chaperones, could prevent neurodegenerative disease from ever taking hold

"These studies have revealed a drug that can fully protect against the toxicity of alpha-synuclein to dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila," Bonini and Auluck write in Nature Medicine. "Geldanamycin and its derivatives warrant further exploration as cytoprotective agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases involving alpha-synuclein toxicity, including Parkinson’s disease."


Bonini and Auluck’s work is funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells
13.12.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart
13.12.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>