Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease

Date:
July 29, 2006
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are homing in on mechanisms that may explain one set of causes for Parkinson's disease. In mice they have mimicked disturbances of mitochondria thought to be one cause of disease. By genetic means the disturbance of mitochondria -- the energy factories of cells -- were directed to those nerve cells that produce the transmitter substance dopamine and that die in Parkinson's diseases.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are homing in on mechanisms that may explain one set of causes for Parkinson's disease. In mice they have mimicked disturbances of mitochondria thought to be one cause of disease. By genetic means the disturbance of mitochondria - the energy factories of cells - were directed to those nerve cells that produce the transmitter substance dopamine and that die in Parkinson's disease.

"The course of disease in these mice is strikingly similar to human disease", says Dr. Lars Olson.

In the mouse model generated by the research team, a gene called TFAM is automatically deleted from the genome in dopamine nerve cells only. Without TFAM, mitochondria cannot function normally. The so called respiratory chain is compromised and energy production decreases severely in the dopamine cells.

The new mice are born healthy from healthy but genetically modified parents and will develop spontaneous disease. Previous studies in the field have been based on researchers delivering neurotoxic substances to kill the dopamine neurons. In the new mice, however, mice develop disease slowly in adulthood, like humans with Parkinson's disease, which may facilitate research aimed at finding novel medical treatments and other therapies.

"We see that the dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain stem slowly degenerate", says Dr. Nils-Gφran Larsson. "In the microscope we can see that the mitochondria are swollen and that aggregates of a protein, probably alpha-synuclein starts to accumulate in the nerve cell bodies. Inclusions of alpha-synuclein-rich so called Lewy bodies is typical for the human disease."

The causes of Parkinson's disease have long remained a mystery. Genes and environment are both implicated, but recently there has been an increased focus on the roles of genetic factors. It has been found that mutations in a number of genes can lead directly to disease, while other mutations may be susceptibility factors, so that carriers have an increased risk of becoming ill. A common denominator for some of the implicated genes is their suggested role for the normal functioning of mitochondria.

"Like patients, the mice can be treated with levo-Dopa, a precursor of the lost substance dopamine", says Dr. Nils-Gφran Larsson. "The course of the disease as well as the brain changes in this mouse are more similar to Parkinson's disease than most other models. This supports the notion that genetic risk factors are important."

"Like in patients, the dopamine nerve cells in the new mouse model die in a specific order", says Dr. Lars Olson. "We hope the mouse will help us understand why certain dopamine nerve cells are more sensitive than others, so that we can develop drugs that delay, ore even stop the nerve cell death."

The project, which is a collaboration between Dr. Nils-Gφran Larsson's and Dr. Lars Olson's teams and in which Dr. Staffan Cullheim's team has contributed with electron microscopical analysis, is being published this week as an Early edition in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Collaborations regarding the new Parkinson mouse are also ongoing with Dr. Barry Hoffer's team at NIDA, NIH.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "New Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060729134653.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2006, July 29). New Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060729134653.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "New Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060729134653.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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