Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male Gene May Explain Higher Incidence Of Parkinson's In Men

Date:
February 22, 2006
Source:
Prince Henry's Institute
Summary:
Scientists at Prince Henry's Institute, Melbourne, and the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered that SRY, the male protein that forms the testes is also produced in the brain region affected in Parkinson's disease. This discovery may explain why men are more likely than women to develop this degenerative disorder.

Scientists at Prince Henry’s Institute, Melbourne, and the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered that SRY, the male protein that forms the testes is also produced in the brain region affected in Parkinson’s disease. This discovery may explain why men are more likely than women to develop this degenerative disorder.

“Our research has shown that a gene only present in males contributes to the control of physical movement, a fundamental brain function,” said Associate Professor Vincent Harley, Head of the Human Molecular Genetics Group at Prince Henry’s Institute.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic movement disorder that affects an estimated 40,000 Australians. Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women.

SRY, the protein that determines male gender, was discovered by British scientists in 1990. Dr Harley joined the team and was the first to show functions of the SRY protein in males. SRY is passed from father to son on the Y chromosome and is not present in females.

Co-investigators Dr Eric Vilain of UCLA and Dr Harley have now traced the SRY protein to a region of the brain called the substantia nigra, which deteriorates in Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease develops when cells in the substantia nigra begin to malfunction and die, producing less dopamine. Dopamine, a chemical messenger, communicates with the brain to control movement and co-ordination. People with Parkinson’s disease become unable to initiate or control their physical movements, eventually leading to paralysis.

The Prince Henry’s Institute team, including PhD student Sabine Kelly, Dr. Helena Sim and Dr. Harley developed sensitive new tools to detect SRY protein in the brain. UCLA scientists, led by Dr Vilain, lowered the level of SRY in the substantia nigra in animal models and detected a corresponding drop in tyrosine hydroxylase, which plays a key role in the brain’s production of dopamine. The consequent low dopamine levels resulted in Parkinson’s-like movement problems.

Drs Vilain and Harley believe that the variations in genes that control SRY or in the SRY gene itself may be linked to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Men with low levels of SRY may be at greater risk of developing the disease.

“We were surprised to find a function for SRY outside the testes,” said Dr Harley.

Scientists at Prince Henry's Institute are collaborating with Associate Professor Catriona McLean, Director of the National Neural Tissue Resource Centre at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, to investigate SRY levels in the brains of males with Parkinson’s disease.

Drs Harley and Vilain suspect that the normal role of SRY in the male brain could be to provide a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease.

“The SRY gene may also explain the sex differences in other dopamine-linked disorders with a higher incidence in males, such as schizophrenia or addiction,” said Dr Vilain.

One in seven people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before the age of 50 years, and the prevalence increases with age. Parkinson’s disease worsens over time, and there is no known cause or cure. The severity and progression of the disease can vary greatly. Symptoms can be managed with medication and surgery.

This research will be published in the 21st of February edition of Current Biology, and is
currently featured in Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060220/full/060220-9.html) and Science (http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/221/1)



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Prince Henry's Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Prince Henry's Institute. "Male Gene May Explain Higher Incidence Of Parkinson's In Men." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060222093758.htm>.
Prince Henry's Institute. (2006, February 22). Male Gene May Explain Higher Incidence Of Parkinson's In Men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060222093758.htm
Prince Henry's Institute. "Male Gene May Explain Higher Incidence Of Parkinson's In Men." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060222093758.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. 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