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Parkinson's: New clues to alleviating gait disorders and falls

Date:
July 26, 2010
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Drugs that target the mediator of nerve cell communication dopamine alleviate many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease but not the gait disorders and falls that affect those with severe disease. New research indicates that drugs targeting nerve cells that communicate using the molecule acetylcholine in the PPN region of the brain might provide a way to alleviate these otherwise untreatable symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Many of the symptoms of Parkinson disease can be alleviated with drugs that target dompamine, a chemical in the brain that is involved in nerve cell communication and therefore known as a neurotransmitter. However, such drugs do not improve the gait disorders and falls that commonly affect individuals with severe and advanced forms of Parkinson disease.

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Understanding which nerve cells in the brain are involved in these symptoms of Parkinson disease might provide researchers with new therapeutic targets. In this context, a team of researchers, led by Chantal François and Etienne Hirsch, at Université Pierre et Marie Curie -- Paris 6, France, has now determined that the presence of gait disorders in patients with Parkinson disease and in aged monkeys with Parkinson-like disease was associated with loss of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in a region of the brain known as the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN).

Consistent with this, disrupting these nerve cells induced gait and postural deficits in monkeys. The authors therefore suggest that targeting acetylcholine-producing nerve cells in the PPN might provide a way to alleviate the gait disorders and falls experienced by individuals with Parkinson disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carine Karachi et al. Cholinergic mesencephalic neurons are involved in gait and postural disorders in Parkinson disease. Journal of Clinical Investigation, DOI: 10.1172/JCI42642

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Parkinson's: New clues to alleviating gait disorders and falls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712121828.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2010, July 26). Parkinson's: New clues to alleviating gait disorders and falls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712121828.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Parkinson's: New clues to alleviating gait disorders and falls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712121828.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

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