Sunday December 15, 2019

New Target For Parkinson’s Therapy Identified

The study revealed that, inside cells, alpha-synuclein binds to mitochondria, where cardiolipin resides

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The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons

Researchers have discovered one of the factors behind nerve cell death in Parkinson’s disease, unlocking the potential for new treatment to slow the progression of this fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

The researchers found that cardiolipin — a molecule inside nerve cells — helps ensure that a protein called alpha-synuclein folds properly. Misfolding of this protein leads to protein deposits that are the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

“Identifying the crucial role cardiolipin plays in keeping these proteins functional means cardiolipin may represent a new target for the development of therapies against Parkinson’s disease,” said Scott Ryan, Professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

“Currently there are no treatments that stop nerve cells from dying,” Ryan added.

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These deposits are toxic to nerve cells that control voluntary movement. When too many of these deposits accumulate, nerve cells die, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers used stem cells collected from people with the disease. The team studied how nerve cells try to cope with misfolded alpha-synuclein.

10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Pixabay

“We thought if we can better understand how cells normally fold alpha-synuclein, we may be able to exploit that process to dissolve these aggregates and slow the spread of the disease,” Ryan said.

The study revealed that, inside cells, alpha-synuclein binds to mitochondria, where cardiolipin resides. Cells use mitochondria to generate energy and drive metabolism.

ALSO READ: Progression of Parkinson disease could be slowed with exercise

Normally, cardiolipin in mitochondria pulls synuclein out of toxic protein deposits and refolds it into a non-toxic shape, the researchers added.

The researchers found that, in people with Parkinson’s disease, this process is overwhelmed over time and mitochondria are ultimately destroyed.

“As a result, the cells slowly die. Based on this finding, we now have a better understanding of why nerve cells die in Parkinson’s disease and how we might be able to intervene,” the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Antibiotics Dosage Linked With Increasing Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease: Study

Usage of antibiotics can increase the risk of Parkinson's disease

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Antibiotics dosage
The dosage of antibiotics should be reduced to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Pixabay

Excessive use of certain commonly used antibiotics is linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, says a study.

This connection may be explained by their disruptive effects on the gut microbial ecosystem, said the study published in the journal Movement Disorders.

The strongest associations were found for broad spectrum antibiotics and those that act against against anaerobic bacteria and fungi.

“The link between antibiotic exposure and Parkinson’s disease fits the current view that in a significant proportion of patients the pathology of Parkinson’s may originate in the gut, possibly related to microbial changes, years before the onset of typical Parkinson motor symptoms such as slowness, muscle stiffness and shaking of the extremities,” said research team leader Filip Scheperjans from Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.

“It was known that the bacterial composition of the intestine in Parkinson’s patients is abnormal, but the cause is unclear. Our results suggest that some commonly used antibiotics, which are known to strongly influence the gut microbiota, could be a predisposing factor,” Scheperjans said.

In the gut, pathological changes typical of Parkinson’s disease have been observed up to 20 years before diagnosis.

Effects of antibiotics
Antibiotics can increase risks of Parkinson’s disease which causes stiffness, body ache and difficulty in walking. Pixabay

Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease have been associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Exposure to antibiotics has been shown to cause changes in the gut microbiome and their use is associated with an increased risk of several diseases, such as psychiatric disorders and Crohn’s disease.

However, these diseases or increased susceptibility to infection do not explain the now observed relationship between antibiotics and Parkinson’s.

The study compared antibiotic exposure during the years 1998-2014 in 13,976 Parkinson’s disease patients and compared it with 40,697 non-affected persons matched for the age, sex and place of residence.

Antibiotic exposure was examined over three different time periods: 1-5, 5-10, and 10-15 years prior to the index date, based on oral antibiotic purchase data.

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Exposure was classified based on number of purchased courses. Exposure was also examined by classifying antibiotics according to their chemical structure, antimicrobial spectrum, and mechanism of action.

“The discovery may also have implications for antibiotic prescribing practices in the future. In addition to the problem of antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial prescribing should also take into account their potentially long-lasting effects on the gut microbiome and the development of certain diseases,” Scheperjans said. (IANS)