Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug averts Parkinson’s disease in fruit flies, suggesting new approach for humans

12.11.2002


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 Parkinson’s disease.



The result suggests a new approach to the treatment of human disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Penn biologist Nancy M. Bonini and graduate student Pavan K. Auluck report the finding in the November issue of Nature Medicine.

Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s disease in both species.


"Medications now prescribed to people with Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 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 Parkinson’s disease."


Bonini and Auluck’s work is funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Novel communication between intestinal microbes and developing immune cells in the thymus
24.01.2020 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Preventing metastasis by stopping cancer cells from making fat
23.01.2020 | Université catholique de Louvain

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: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>