Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genetic model for Parkinson's disease

31.07.2006
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are homing in on mechanisms that may explain one set of causes for Parkinson's disease. In mice they have mimicked disturbances of mitochondria thought to be one cause of disease. By genetic means the disturbance of mitochondria - the energy factories of cells - were directed to those nerve cells that produce the transmitter substance dopamine and that die in Parkinson's disease.

”The course of disease in these mice is strikingly similar to human disease”, says Dr. Lars Olson.

In the mouse model generated by the research team, a gene called TFAM is automatically deleted from the genome in dopamine nerve cells only. Without TFAM, mitochondria cannot function normally. The so called respiratory chain is compromised and energy production decreases severely in the dopamine cells.

The new mice are born healthy from healthy but genetically modified parents and will develop spontaneous disease. Previous studies in the field have been based on researchers delivering neurotoxic substances to kill the dopamine neurons. In the new mice, however, mice develop disease slowly in adulthood, like humans with Parkinson's disease, which may facilitate research aimed at finding novel medical treatments and other therapies.

”We see that the dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain stem slowly degenerate”, says Dr. Nils-Göran Larsson. ”In the microscope we can see that the mitochondria are swollen and that aggregates of a protein, probably alpha-synuclein starts to accumulate in the nerve cell bodies. Inclusions of alpha-synuclein-rich so called Lewy bodies is typical for the human disease.”

The causes of Parkinson's disease have long remained a mystery. Genes and environment are both implicated, but recently there has been an increased focus on the roles of genetic factors. It has been found that mutations in a number of genes can lead directly to disease, while other mutations may be susceptibility factors, so that carriers have an increased risk of becoming ill.

A common denominator for some of the implicated genes is their suggested role for the normal functioning of mitochondria.

”Like patients, the mice can be treated with levo-Dopa, a precursor of the lost substance dopamine”, says Dr. Nils-Göran Larsson. ”The course of the disease, as well as the brain changes in this mouse are more similar to Parkinson's disease than most other models. This supports the notion that genetic risk factors are important.”

”Like in patients, the dopamine nerve cells in the new mouse model die in a specific order”, says Dr. Lars Olson. ”We hope the mouse will help us understand why certain dopamine nerve cells are more sensitive than others, so that we can develop drugs that delay, ore even stop the nerve cell death.”

The project, which is a collaboration between Dr. Nils-Göran Larsson's and Dr. Lars Olson's teams and in which Dr. Staffan Cullheim's team has contributed with electron microscopical analysis, is being published this week as an Early edition in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Collaborations regarding the new Parkinson mouse are also ongoing with Dr. Barry Hoffer's team at NIDA, NIH.

Katarina Sternudd | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>