Drug averts Parkinsons disease in fruit flies, suggesting new approach for humans
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.
"Medications now prescribed to people with Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons and Alzheimers 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 Parkinsons disease."
Bonini and Aulucks work is funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimers Association.
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...