Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New findings on troubling side effects of Parkinson’s medication

Date:
July 19, 2010
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
One in every 100 elderly people suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a disease of the nervous system with symptoms including stiffness and shaking. The standard medication used to treat Parkinson’s is Levodopa, a drug that initially has major benefits but can later also produce serious side effects in the form of involuntary, jerky movements. A research group has now found a way to study what it is in the brain that causes these side effects.

One in every 100 elderly people suffers from Parkinson's disease, a disease of the nervous system with symptoms including stiffness and shaking. The standard medication used to treat Parkinson's is Levodopa, a drug that initially has major benefits but can later also produce serious side effects in the form of involuntary, jerky movements. A research group at Lund University has now found a way to study what it is in the brain that causes these side effects.

The jerky and unpredictable movements that form the side effects of the medication are known as dyskinesias. It is clear that dyskinesias are caused by long-term use of Levodopa, but researchers have been divided on the exact details of the mechanisms behind them and there has been no good way to study them in laboratory animals. This is what the Lund researchers have now developed.

"We use a harmless virus that introduces a small gene into the nerve cells. In a process involving several stages, the gene causes the nerve cells to stop producing dopamine, without destroying them," explains Ayse Ulusoy. She has recently defended a thesis that includes these studies.

In a patient with Parkinson's disease, the nerve cells that produce dopamine die. However, at the same time other cells in the brain also suffer changes. This makes it very difficult to find out which of these changes causes the dyskinesias. In the new model system that Ayse and her colleagues have developed, the laboratory rats' nerve cells otherwise function normally. This is what makes it possible to see what causes the dyskinesias, the unpleasant side effect of the Parkinson's medication.

"We have seen that they are linked to the 'fibre terminals' on the nerve cells that should release dopamine. These new findings open up great opportunities to improve the treatment of Parkinson's disease in the long run," says neurologist Gurdal Sahin.

Ayse Ulusoy and Gurdal Sahin are members of Professor Deniz Kirik's research group at Lund University. The group has recently published its results in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Deniz Kirik believes that the study will be of great international interest, because Parkinson's disease exists around the world and the side effects of the medication have long been seen as a very serious problem.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Ulusoy, G. Sahin, D. Kirik. Presynaptic dopaminergic compartment determines the susceptibility to L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003432107

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "New findings on troubling side effects of Parkinson’s medication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719083048.htm>.
Lund University. (2010, July 19). New findings on troubling side effects of Parkinson’s medication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719083048.htm
Lund University. "New findings on troubling side effects of Parkinson’s medication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719083048.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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