Exposure to iron during the first weeks of life in combination with exposure later in life to a common herbicide may contribute to the subsequent degeneration of brain cells associated with the onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to a new study in mice. The findings also showed that a compound that protects cells in the body from damage from certain forms of oxygen, a kind of antioxidant, could suppress such neural degeneration.
Previous studies indicated that both early exposure to iron and later exposure to the herbicide paraquat independently increase oxidative stress—an environment in which damage from levels of reactive oxygen is more likely—in dopamine-producing regions of the brain, areas that are affected by PD. Julie Andersen, PhD, and her team at the Buck Institute for Age Research found that feeding iron to newborn mice made them more susceptible to paraquat, which increases levels of harmful forms of oxygen and damages dopamine-producing neurons as they grew older. The study appears in the June 27 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
“The importance of the study is that it points to a possible role of common mechanisms triggered by iron and paraquat as important in PD, and suggests that therapies that block their effects would be worth testing in patients,” says Marie-Francoise Chesselet, MD, PhD, of UCLA, who did not participate in the study.
Ten-day-old mice were fed iron for a week. At ages from two months to two years, they were then exposed to paraquat for three weeks. By examining their brains, Andersen and her team found that by the time the mice were a year old, early iron consumption exacerbated damage to brain cells caused by paraquat exposure. The effect was even more pronounced at two years of age, the human equivalent of 60–70 years.
A subset of mice that received the antioxidant at the same time that they were exposed to paraquat exhibited reduced levels of dopamine-producing neuron death, suggesting they were protected from oxidative damage. Aging is the single major risk factor for PD, but the findings from Andersen and her colleagues show that exposure during the neonatal period may play a crucial role in the development of late-onset PD.
Future studies are likely to explore the role of antioxidants in helping to prevent and treat symptoms of PD, says Andersen. “The present findings suggest that antioxidants may be a viable therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as PD.”
Sara Harris | EurekAlert!
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences