Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence Links Protein Damage To Parkinson's

Date:
November 3, 2000
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Summary:
New evidence links oxidative damage in a protein found in nerve cells to the development of degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The first study to provide this evidence, conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers, will be published in the November 3 issue of Science.

Philadelphia -- New evidence links oxidative damage in a protein found in nerve cells to the development of degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The first study to provide this evidence, conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers, will be published in the November 3 issue of Science.

"The protein, called alpha-synuclein, is one of the building blocks of the brain lesions characteristic in patients with neurodegenerative diseases," says Dr. Virginia Lee, who is the John H. Ware III Professor in Alzheimer Research and co-director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Oxidative damage, she explains, normally occurs when the body's cells are overwhelmed by molecules that have changed because they have combined with nitrogen (nitration) or oxygen (oxidation).

Both types of oxidants damage lipids, nucleic acids, proteins, and other cellular components much like oxidation causes rust damage to metal in cars and buildings. This damage has been implicated in causing neurodegenerative disorders.

"We found that alpha-synuclein itself is a target of oxidative stress, specifically nitration, within these lesions, " says Lee. "This is the first time anybody has identified nitration on a specific protein."

Neurodegenerative diseases -- including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diffuse Lewy body disease, and multiple system atrophy -- are collectively called synucleinopathies. Most commonly they become symptomatic due to a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter -- in the case of Parkinson's it is dopamine. When the neurons that produce these chemicals die or become impaired, which occurs with oxidation, the eventual results are tremors and sometimes dementia.

"Alpha-synuclein is found at the synapses of nerve cells," explains Lee. Earlier studies showed that two mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene cause familial Parkinson's disease, and that this protein is also a major component of Lewy bodies, the characteristic lesion in Parkinson's disease.

The University of Pennsylvania scientists conducted a series of biochemical tests to determine whether nitrated alpha-synucleins are present, how abundant they are in Lewy bodies, and where they could be found, as well as in what form.

In determining whether the alpha-synucleins found in Lewy bodies are specifically nitrated, Lee says she and her colleagues found that, "in fact, nitrated alpha-synuclein is a widespread and abundant component of Lewy bodies. It is also an integral component of the filaments that form these lesions and are found in the affected brain regions of synucleinopathies."

Lee adds: "This is a major foothold in beginning to understand how oxidative stress plays a role in causing Parkinson's and other synucleinopathies." Further studies can help determine the extent of this nitration and find other possible nitrating agents.

"Our studies provide conclusive evidence of oxidative damage in alpha-synuclein, and that such stress may be a primary event leading to the onset and progression of neurodegenerative synucleinopathies, particularly Parkinson's," says Lee. "This may pave the way for developing therapies to stop or slow the oxidative damage, and thus slow or reverse the progression of these diseases." In the United States, Parkinson's disease affects over a million people, and Alzheimer's disease about 4 million people.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Oxford Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Evidence Links Protein Damage To Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001103071439.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. (2000, November 3). Evidence Links Protein Damage To Parkinson's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001103071439.htm
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Evidence Links Protein Damage To Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001103071439.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins