The findings of this research may be of great importance for the development of new treatment strategies for Parkinson’s disease. The results of this study will be published in “Nature” on July 5th, 2007.
Approximately one percent of people aged over 60 get Parkinson’s disease all over the World. The demographic change with increasing number of elderly people will lead in doubling of the number of Parkinsonian patients also in Finland during 2005 – 2030. Typical symptoms in Parkinson’s disease are those of muscle rigidity, tremor, and slowness of movement. They are a consequence of the degeneration of dopamine nerves projecting from Substantia Nigra to Caudate Putamen (also called Striatum). The clinical symptoms manifest when approximately 70 % of the dopamine nerves have been destroyed. Degeneration of the dopamine nerves progresses slowly, and in time the difficulties in movement becomes a major factor reducing the quality of life of these patients.
Current drug treatment of Parkinson’s disease aims at increasing dopamine concentration and / or activation of dopamine receptors in the brain. Due to the progression of the nerve degeneration the drug therapy gradually becomes less effective. Neurotrophic factors which could slow down or even halt the progression of the degeneration of dopamine nerves have been in the focus as a possible new treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Glial cell- line derived neurotrophic fctor (GDNF) is one example of such a promising growth factor. Indeed, it was shown to have beneficial effects in a clinical trial in Parkinsonian patients suffering from severe symptoms. However, due to adverse effects the clinical trials have been stopped, even though some of the patients would have continued the therapy. Even so, the clinical trials on GDNF gave the proof of concept for the use of neurotrophic factorstreatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore it is very important to search for new growth factors with similar efficacy as GDNF, but with better tolerability.
Conserved dopamine neurotrophic (CDNF) factor discovered and characterized in this study is well conserved in the evolution. It belongs to a CDNF/MANF family of proteins, which is the first evolutionarily conserved family of neurotrophic factors having a representative also in invertebrate animals (MANF = mesencephalic astrocyte derived neurotrophic factor).
In an experimental model of Parkinson’s disease, a neurotoxin 6-OHDA was injected on one side of the brain into the striatum of rats. This toxin causes a progressive degeneration of dopamine nerves similar to that observed in Parkinsons disease. Upon activation of dopamine nerves of the brain by drugs, these animals show a movement disorder, a circling behaviour, which reflects an imbalance of dopamine activity of the brain hemispheres.
A single injection of CDNF six hours before the toxin delivery into the striatum significantly prevented the degeneration of dopamine nerves in the brain and also the turning behavior was normalized. When administered four weeks after the toxin, situation mimicking a progression of the nerve degeneration in patients, injection of CDNF into Striatum was able to prevent the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and cure the behavioral imbalance.
The results of the present study show that CDNF is a very promising new neurotrophic factor with a significant neuroprotective and neurorestorative effects on dopamine nerves in the brain. It may have significant potential in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in the future as a neuro protective or even neurorestorative therapy.
Mart Saarma | EurekAlert!
Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy