Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug Averts Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies, Suggesting New Approach For Humans

Date:
November 12, 2002
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have averted the onset of neurodegenerative disease in fruit flies by administering medication to flies genetically predisposed to a disorder akin to Parkinson's disease.

PHILADELPHIA -- Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have averted the onset of neurodegenerative disease in fruit flies by administering medication to flies genetically predisposed to a disorder akin to Parkinson's disease.

The result suggests a new approach to the treatment of human disorders including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Penn biologist Nancy M. Bonini and graduate student Pavan K. Auluck report the finding in the November issue of Nature Medicine.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common human neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by tremors, postural rigidity and progressive deterioration of dopaminergic neurons in specific areas of the brain. Despite the evolutionary gulf separating humans and fruit flies, neurotoxicity unfolds in a similar manner in both species. Like humans, Drosophila melanogaster experiences neuronal loss upon expression of alpha-synuclein, a protein implicated in the onset of Parkinson's disease in both species.

"Medications now prescribed to people with Parkinson's disease, such as levodopa, bromocriptine and deprenyl, relieve symptoms by rescuing neurons compromised by the disease," said Bonini, Penn professor of biology and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Our studies suggest that a new class of drugs might prevent neurodegenerative disorders by fortifying these neurons even before the onset of disease."

Bonini and Auluck fed flies a naturally occurring antibiotic called geldanamycin. When fed geldanamycin-supplemented food as adults, flies with a genetic susceptibility to neurodegenerative disease -- flies that would normally experience a 50 percent loss of dopaminergic neurons by 20 days of age -- maintained normal numbers of these neurons.

Geldanamycin tweaks the activity of Hsp90, one of a class of proteins known as molecular chaperones. Bonini, Auluck and colleagues showed last year that molecular chaperones can block the progression of neurodegenerative disease in Drosophila, suggesting that diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's may result from reduced chaperone levels and might be averted by pharmacologically boosting chaperone activity.

Bonini cautions that there are limitations of geldanamycin itself, derivatives of which are now undergoing clinical trials as possible antitumor agents. However, she says these findings should stimulate chemists and pharmaceutical researchers on the trail of a new class of drugs that, by bolstering molecular chaperones, could prevent neurodegenerative disease from ever taking hold

"These studies have revealed a drug that can fully protect against the toxicity of alpha-synuclein to dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila," Bonini and Auluck write in Nature Medicine. "Geldanamycin and its derivatives warrant further exploration as cytoprotective agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases involving alpha-synuclein toxicity, including Parkinson's disease."

Bonini and Auluck's work is funded by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania. "Drug Averts Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies, Suggesting New Approach For Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021112075705.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania. (2002, November 12). Drug Averts Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies, Suggesting New Approach For Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021112075705.htm
University Of Pennsylvania. "Drug Averts Parkinson's Disease In Fruit Flies, Suggesting New Approach For Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021112075705.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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