Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Target Found To Fight, Treat Parkinson's

Date:
August 24, 2005
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Neuroscientists from the University at Buffalo have described for the first time how rotenone, an environmental toxin linked specifically to Parkinson's disease, selectively destroys the neurons that produce dopamine, the neurotransmitter critical to body movement and muscle control.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Neuroscientists from the University at Buffalo have described for the first time how rotenone, an environmental toxin linked specifically to Parkinson's disease, selectively destroys the neurons that produce dopamine, the neurotransmitter critical to body movement and muscle control.

Microtubules, intracellular highways that transport dopamine to the brain area that controls body movement, are the crucial target, they report.

Damage to microtubules prevents dopamine from reaching the brain's movement center, causing a back-up of the neurotransmitter in the transport system, the researchers found. The backed-up dopamine accumulates in the body of the neuron and breaks down, causing a release of toxic free radicals, which destroy the neuron.

The study appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"This study shows how an environmental toxin affects the survival of dopamine neurons by targeting microtubules that are critical for the survival of dopamine-producing neurons," said Jian Feng, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and biophysics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author on the study.

"Based on these findings, we have identified several ways to stabilize microtubules against the onslaught of rotenone. These results ultimately may lead to novel therapies for Parkinson's disease."

At least 500,000 people are believed to suffer from Parkinson's disease in the United States, and about 50,000 new cases are reported annually, according to the National Institutes of Health. These figures are expected to increase as the population ages: The average age of onset is about 60. The disorder appears to be slightly more common in men than women.

Feng and colleagues in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics have concentrated their research on the cellular mechanisms of the disease. They are interested specifically in understanding why rotenone destroys neurons that produce dopamine, while sparing neurons that produce other neurotransmitters.

Using cultures of rat neurons, the researches subjected neurons that produce various types of neurotransmitters to agents that mimic the action of rotenone. These results showed that dopaminergic neurons were destroyed while others survived.

They then topped off the treatment by adding the drug taxol, which stabilizes microtubules and prevents their breakdown. Findings showed that by protecting microtubules, the toxic effect of rotenone on dopamine-producing neurons was greatly reduced.

"Based on these findings, we believe that microtubules are a critical target of PD environmental toxins such as rotenone," said Feng. "Since many microtubule-depolymerizing agents are compounds naturally produced in many plants, our research points to the need to examine their possible link to Parkinson's disease. In addition, PD has a higher incidence in rural areas and is associated with pesticides and insecticides frequently used in farming practices."

The research also opens up novel avenues for the development of PD therapies by targeting microtubules, he said. Feng and colleagues in his laboratory are working actively towards this goal.

Additional researchers on the study were Yong Ren, Ph.D., Wenhau Liu, Ph.D., Houbo Jiang, Ph.D., and Qian Jiang, Ph.D., post-doctoral associates in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

The research is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "New Target Found To Fight, Treat Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050824080100.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2005, August 24). New Target Found To Fight, Treat Parkinson's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050824080100.htm
University at Buffalo. "New Target Found To Fight, Treat Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050824080100.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. 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:
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