Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research yields insights into Parkinson's disease

05.06.2012
Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) used an innovative technique to examine chemical interactions that are implicated in Parkinson's Disease.

The work details how a protein called alpha-synuclein interacting with the brain chemical dopamine can lead to protein misfolding and neuronal death.

Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disease which results in loss of motor control and cognitive function. Although the cause isn't known precisely, the disease involves the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical important in neuronal signaling. The disease also involves a protein called alpha-synuclein which aggregates in the neurons of people with the disease.

Kagan Kerman, a chemist in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, and Ian R. Brown, a neuroscientist who founded UTSC's Centre for the Neurobiology of Stress in the Department of Biological Sciences, looked at the way dopamine interacts with alpha-synuclein to form aggregates that may be toxic to neurons.

"This is very fundamental," says Kagan Kerman. "It gives us a new point of view of the misfolding proteins and how they are affected by dopamine."

These sorts of interactions are often studied using microscopy. But the UTSC researchers decided to use an electroanalytic technique called voltammetry. By studying tiny changes in electric current as dopamine and alpha-synuclein interacted they were able to determine details about the early phases of the interaction.

Using the technique, they were able to detail how changes in pH levels and ionic strength of the solution affected the interaction. They found that at higher pH levels and higher ionic strengths, dopamine interacted much more strongly with alpha-synuclein, forming aggregates more quickly.

The results could have implications for understanding and treating the disease. Normally dopamine is contained in structures called vesicles, in which pH levels are low and dopamine is unlikely to interact with alpha-synuclein. Outside of the vesicles dopamine encounters higher pH levels and, according to the new research, is much more likely to interact to create aggregates.

The analysis was done using chemicals deposited onto screen-printed electrodes only 12.5 mm by 4 mm. The electrodes were manufactured at Osaka University, where Kerman completed his PhD work. Because they are so small, the electrodes allowed analysis to be done on tiny samples.

The technique is a potentially quicker and cheaper way to study protein misfolding, and could be automated to screen drugs that might treat the disease, says Brown.

The research was published in Chemical Neuroscience, published by the American Chemical Society.

Kagan Kerman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Photoactive bacteria bait may help in fight against MRSA infections
12.10.2018 | Purdue University

nachricht 15 emerging technologies that could reduce global catastrophic biological risks
10.10.2018 | Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

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: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

Im Focus: Dynamics of individual proteins

New measurement method allows researchers to precisely follow the movement of individual molecules over long periods of time

The function of proteins – the molecular tools of the cell – is governed by the interplay of their structure and dynamics. Advances in electron microscopy have...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

Major Project: The New Silk Road

01.10.2018 | Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics: Not everything is where it seems to be

15.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Microfluidic molecular exchanger helps control therapeutic cell manufacturing

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Link between Gut Flora and Multiple Sclerosis Discovered

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>