Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hunting down the trigger for Parkinson’s: failing dopamine pump damages brain cells

16.06.2014

A study group at the Medical University of Vienna's Centre for Brain Research has investigated the function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson’s patients compared to a healthy test group.

It turned out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.


In the brain, dopamine mediates the exchange of information between different neurons and, to help it do this, it is continuously reformed at the contact points between the corresponding nerve cells. It is stored in structures known as vesicles (intracellular bubbles) and it is released when required. In people with Parkinson’s disease, the death of these nerve cells causes a lack of dopamine, and this in turn causes the familiar movement problems such as motor retardation, stiffness of the muscles and tremors.

More than 50 years ago, in the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna (now the MedUni Vienna), Herbert Ehringer and Oleh Hornykiewicz discovered that Parkinson’s disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in certain regions of the brain. This discovery enabled Hornykiewicz to introduce the amino acid L-DOPA into the treatment of Parkinson’s to substitute the dopamine and make the symptoms of the condition manageable for years.

The reasons for the death of nerve cells in Parkinson's disease are not yet fully understood, however, which is why it is still not possible to prevent the disease from developing. Nevertheless, dopamine itself, if it is not stored correctly in vesicles, can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.

Now, a further step forward has been taken in the research into the causes of this disease: a study at the MedUni Vienna’s Centre for Brain Research, led by Christian Pifl and the now 87-year-old Oleh Hornykiewicz, compared the brains of deceased Parkinson's patients with those of a neurologically healthy control group. For the first time, it was possible to prepare the dopamine-storing vesicles from the brains so that their ability to store dopamine by pumping it in could be measured in quantitative terms.

It turned out that the pumps in the vesicles of Parkinson’s sufferers pumped the dopamine out less efficiently. “This pump deficiency and the associated reduction in dopamine storage capacity of the Parkinson’s vesicles could lead to dopamine collecting in the nerve cells, developing its toxic effect and destroying the nerve cells," explains Christian Pifl.  

http://www.meduniwien.ac.at

Journal of Neuroscience
Christian Pifl, Alex Rajput, Harald Reither, Javier Blesa, Carmen Cavada, José A. Obeso, Ali H. Rajput, Oleh Hornykiewicz – Is Parkinson’s disease a vesicular dopamine storage disorder? Evidence from a study in isolated synaptic vesicles of human and non-human primate striatum. Journal of Neuroscience

Johannes Angerer | AlphaGalileo

Further reports about: Neuroscience Parkinson’s dopamine movement pump structures vesicles

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>