Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Drugs Protect Nerve Cells In Parkinson Mice

Date:
September 27, 2002
Source:
NIH/National Institute On Aging
Summary:
Two experimental drugs appear to prevent Parkinson’s disease-like brain damage and motor dysfunction in mice, according to investigators at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Gerontology Research Center. The finding identifies a new approach for slowing or halting the progression of Parkinson’s disease that may one day help treat people who have it.

Two experimental drugs appear to prevent Parkinson’s disease-like brain damage and motor dysfunction in mice, according to investigators at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Gerontology Research Center. The finding identifies a new approach for slowing or halting the progression of Parkinson’s disease that may one day help treat people who have it.

Related Articles


“Although one must be cautiously optimistic when moving drugs from animals to humans, as the results are not always the same, these new drugs are remarkably effective in the animal studies, and appear to be well-tolerated”, says Mark Mattson, Ph.D., chief of the NIA’s Laboratory of Neurosciences. The study abstract will be available online at the Annals of Neurology website, http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/issuetoc?ID=78504407 after the embargo lifts.

In the study, dopamine-producing nerve cells in mice treated with pifithrin-alpha (PFT), an experimental cancer treatment, and Z-1-117, a modified version of PFT, were more resistant to being killed by environmental toxins and pesticides, such as MPTP, iron, and rotenone. These toxins are suspected of increasing the risk of Parkinson’s disease in humans and can induce symptoms of the disease in rats and mice. The drugs also helped preserve motor function in mice exposed to these compounds. The investigators suspect the drugs work because they block the action of p53, a protein that may promote the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells.

The NIA team found that p53 kills these nerve cells by causing an increase in the permeability of the membranes surrounding mitochondria, the organelles in the cell that produce energy. This increased permeability causes the release of chemicals from mitochondria that destroy the cell. The same alterations in mitochondria are believed to occur in dying nerve cells in Alzheimer’s disease and in people who have had strokes. However, PFT and Z-1-117 prevented these mitochondrial alterations.

“Not only do these findings reveal a new avenue for treating people who have Parkinson’s disease, but they provide the opportunity to better understand how p53 kills nerve cells and whether this might also occur in other neurological diseases,” Dr. Mattson said. His lab is currently determining whether the p53 inhibitors might be effective in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and has found that PFT and Z-1-117 are effective in reducing nerve cell damage and improving functional recovery following a stroke in mice. If additional studies confirm that these drugs are safe and effective in animals, then they will likely be tested in humans.

Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells in a brain region called the substania nigra die or become impaired and can no longer produce dopamine. Without dopamine, individuals can develop tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination. Patients may also have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. The disease is both chronic and progressive. Parkinson's is not usually inherited, but incidence of the disease increases with age, with an average onset at about 60 years. It afflicts about 50,000 Americans annually.

The NIA leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting biomedical, clinical, social, and behavioral research on aging. This effort includes research into the causes and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders associated with age. Press releases, fact sheets, and other materials about aging and aging research can be viewed at the NIA’s general information Web site, http://www.nia.nih.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute On Aging. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute On Aging. "New Drugs Protect Nerve Cells In Parkinson Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020927064902.htm>.
NIH/National Institute On Aging. (2002, September 27). New Drugs Protect Nerve Cells In Parkinson Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020927064902.htm
NIH/National Institute On Aging. "New Drugs Protect Nerve Cells In Parkinson Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020927064902.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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