Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons

Date:
October 5, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
New research suggests that small "seed" amounts of diseased brain proteins can be taken up by healthy neurons and propagated within them to cause neurodegeneration. The research sheds light on the mechanisms associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) and provides a model for discovering early intervention therapeutics that can prevent or slow the devastating loss of neurons that underlies PD.

New research suggests that small "seed" amounts of diseased brain proteins can be taken up by healthy neurons and propagated within them to cause neurodegeneration. The research, published by Cell Press in the October 6 issue of the journal Neuron, sheds light on the mechanisms associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) and provides a model for discovering early intervention therapeutics that can prevent or slow the devastating loss of neurons that underlies PD.

Related Articles


Alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a brain protein that forms abnormal, neuron-damaging intracellular clumps called "Lewy bodies." These clumps are the hallmark lesions of PD and other neurodegenerative disorders known as α-synucleinopathies. Strikingly, even healthy fetal nerve cells transplanted into the brains of PD patients for therapeutic purposes can develop Lewy bodies, suggesting that α-syn pathology spreads through the nervous system. However, it is not clear whether these Lewy bodies are formed by the spread of abnormal α-syn between cells or if the neighboring diseased neurons exert a toxic influence that causes the normal grafted neurons to produce Lewy bodies.

"We examined whether exposure of neurons to α-syn fibrils recruited normal α-syn in these neurons to form Lewy bodies," explains senior author, Dr. Virginia M.-Y. Lee, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "We performed our experiments using synthetic α-syn fibrils and normal neurons, similar to the physiological conditions seen in the majority of sporadic PD patients."

Dr. Lee and colleagues found that the α-syn fibrils were taken up by the neurons and acted as "seeds" that induced normal α-syn to aggregate into PD-like Lewy bodies. The fibrils were taken up by a nerve cell process and then spread to the cell body where the PD-like Lewy bodies formed and impaired neuronal function, ultimately leading to death of the neuron. This suggests that abnormal extracellular α-syn can amplify and propagate PD-like Lewy bodies throughout the nervous system.

"We have developed a novel neuronal model of PD-like α-syn inclusions that enables dissection of mechanisms leading to Lewy body formation, as well as understanding how these inclusions affect the function and viability of affected neurons," concludes Dr. Lee. "These findings open up new avenues of research into understanding mechanisms of α-synuclein pathology, its impact on neuronal function, and discovering therapies for PD and other α-synuclenopathies." The research may lead to new therapies that can prevent the diseased protein from spreading to healthy neurons and causing irreversible damage.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura A. Volpicelli-Daley, Kelvin C. Luk, Tapan P. Patel, Selcuk A. Tanik, Dawn M. Riddle, Anna Stieber, David F. Meaney, John Q. Trojanowski, Virginia M.-Y. Lee. Exogenous α-Synuclein Fibrils Induce Lewy Body Pathology Leading to Synaptic Dysfunction and Neuron Death. Neuron, 6 October 2011; 72(1) pp. 57 - 71 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.08.033

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005122221.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, October 5). Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005122221.htm
Cell Press. "Seeds of destruction in Parkinson's disease: Spread of diseased proteins kills neurons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005122221.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 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:

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