Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identification Of Dopamine 'Mother Cells' Could Lead To Future Parkinson's Treatments

Date:
April 9, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
"Mother cells" which produce the neurons affected by Parkinson's disease have been identified by scientists. The new discovery could pave the way for future treatments for the disease, including the possibility of growing new neurons, and the cells which support them, in the lab. Scientists hope these could then be transplanted into patients to counteract the damage caused by Parkinson's.

Researchers have discovered how dopamine- producing neurons are formed in the brain.
Credit: iStockphoto/Monika Wisniewska

'Mother cells' which produce the neurons affected by Parkinson's disease have been identified by scientists, according to new research published in the journal Glia.

The new discovery could pave the way for future treatments for the disease, including the possibility of growing new neurons, and the cells which support them, in the lab. Scientists hope these could then be transplanted into patients to counteract the damage caused by Parkinson's.

The new study focuses on dopaminergic neurons -- brain cells which produce and use the chemical dopamine to communicate with surrounding neurons. The researchers found that these important neurons are created when a particular type of cell in the embryonic brain divides during the early stages of brain development in the womb.

If a person suffers from Parkinson's disease, it is the depletion of these dopaminergic neurons and the associated lack of dopamine in the body which causes chronic and progressive symptoms including tremors, stiff muscles and slow movement.

The international research team used mouse models in the laboratory to examine the early stages of brain formation. They discovered that dopaminergic neurons are formed by precursor cells identified as 'radial glia-like cells' by the scientists because of their similarity to radial glia cells which are already known to build other parts of the brain.

The scientists hope that this discovery could, in the future, lead to new therapies which would use these radial glia-like cells derived from patients' own stem cells to grow replacement neurons in the lab, which could then be transplanted into the brain to replace the neurons they have lost.

One of the authors of the paper, Dr Anita Hall from Imperial College London's Department of Life Sciences, explains the potential of the team's findings: "You could call these radial glia-like cells the stem cells of this part of the brain -- they contain all the information needed to create and support the young dopamine-producing neurons which are essential for important human functions including motor activity, cognition and some behaviours.

"Now that we understand how these neurons are produced, we hope that this knowledge can be used to develop novel therapies including techniques to create replacement neurons for people with Parkinson's which could be implanted into the brain to bolster their vital supplies of dopamine."

Dr Hall adds, however, that more research is needed to work out how exactly these glia-like cells could be used: "Using these mother cells to grow new neurons in the lab which are fit to be transplanted into humans will be complicated, and extensive further research is needed before this becomes a clinical reality. For example, we're not yet sure whether the mother cells themselves would need to be transplanted too, in order to facilitate successful dopamine production in the brain of a Parkinson's patient," she said.

In the UK, one in every 500 people -- approximately 120,000 individuals -- has Parkinson's disease. Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. The symptoms of Parkinson's disease usually appear when about 80% of the brain's dopamine has been lost. The level of dopamine in the brain then continues to fall slowly over many years. The reasons why the loss of dopamine occurs in the brains of people with Parkinson's is currently unknown.

The study was led by Professor Ernest Arenas at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Journal reference: 'Identification of midbrain floor plate radial glia-like cells as dopaminergic progenitors', Glia, Volume 56, Issue 8, June 2008 (Published online 19 March 2008).


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Identification Of Dopamine 'Mother Cells' Could Lead To Future Parkinson's Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114604.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, April 9). Identification Of Dopamine 'Mother Cells' Could Lead To Future Parkinson's Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114604.htm
Imperial College London. "Identification Of Dopamine 'Mother Cells' Could Lead To Future Parkinson's Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114604.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 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