Tuesday June 19, 2018

Lipid Accumulation in The Brain May Be an Early Sign of Parkinson’s Disease

Lipid accumulation in brain may indicate Parkinson's risk

0
//
33
Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s
Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s. Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

Elevated levels of certain types of lipids, or fat molecules, in the brain may be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease, new research has found.

This finding, published online in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, could have significant implications for identifying patients who may be at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and for the early treatment of the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative, progressive disorder characterised by the dramatic reduction of nerve cells, particularly dopamine neurons that are involved in movement initiation, in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra.

“This (study) potentially provides an opportunity to treat lipid changes early on in Parkinson’s disease and protect nerve cells from dying, as well as the chance to use the lipid levels as biomarkers for patients at risk,” said study lead author Penny Hallett from McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School in the US.

For many years now, the loss of the nerve cells has been attributed to the toxic accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein.

Representational image
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

In the past 15 years, however, researchers have been studying an interesting relationship between the risk of developing the disease and mutations that lead to loss of function in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene.

Scientists at the Neuroregeneration Research Institute at McLean Hospital had previously shown that there is an elevation of a class of lipids, called glycosphingolipids, in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Since ageing is the most significant risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease, the team measured the levels of glycosphingolipids in the ageing brain, using young and old mice.

They found that the same glycosphingolipids that are increased in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients are also elevated in the brains of ageing mice.

Also Read: This New App Can Score Parkinson’s Severity

These findings showed that both genetics (GBA gene mutation) and ageing can cause the same lipid elevations in the brain that are demonstrated in Parkinson’s disease pathology.

“These results lead to a new hypothesis that lipid alterations may create a number of problems inside nerve cells in degenerative ageing and Parkinson’s disease, and that these changes may precede some of the more obvious hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease, such as protein aggregates,” Hallett said.  IANS

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s

Immunosuppresive drugs likely to keep Parkinson's at bay

0
Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s
Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s. Pixabay

People who are on drugs to suppress their immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease — a neurological disorder characterised by tremors, slow movements, stiffness and difficulty walking, a new study claimed.

The results, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, showed that people with several types of autoimmune diseases, including ulcerative colitis were less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than the general population.

The investigators noted that many autoimmune diseases have one common thing, that is, they are treated with drugs that dampen immune activity.

“We’ve found that taking certain classes of immunosuppressant drugs reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s. One group of drugs in particular looks really promising and warrants further investigation to determine whether it can slow disease progression,” said Brad Racette from Washington University-St. Louis in the US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The study showed that people taking corticosteroids — used for treating inflammatory diseases — such as prednisone were 20 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, while those on inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMDH)– an enzyme — inhibitors were about one-third less likely.

While, immunosuppresive drugs may keep Parkinson’s at bay, it may ,however, increase the chances of developing infectious diseases and cancer.

The benefits of these drugs outweigh the costs for people with serious autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis but doctors would probably hesitate to prescribe risky drugs to healthy people to stave off Parkinson’s, especially since there is no reliable way to predict who is on track to develop the disease, the team explained.

Also Read: Cancer Patients Turn Incredible Photographers

“What we really need is a drug for people who are newly diagnosed, to prevent the disease from worsening. It’s a reasonable assumption that if a drug reduces the risk of getting Parkinson’s, it also will slow disease progression, and we’re exploring that now,” Racette said.

For the study, the team analysed prescription drug data on 48,295 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 52,324 people never diagnosed with Parkinson’s and developed an algorithm to predict which people would be diagnosed with the disease. (IANS)