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Study first to link mitochondrial dysfunction and alpha-Synuclein multiplication in human fibroblasts

Date:
October 6, 2011
Source:
IOS Press
Summary:
A new study shows for the first time the effects of alpha-Synuclein gene multiplication on mitochondrial function and susceptibility to oxidative stress in human tissue. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been frequently implicated in the neurodegenerative process that underlies Parkinson's disease, but the basis for this has not been fully understood.

A new study in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease shows for the first time the effects of α-Synuclein (α-syn) gene multiplication on mitochondrial function and susceptibility to oxidative stress in human tissue. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been frequently implicated in the neurodegenerative process that underlies Parkinson's disease, but the basis for this has not been fully understood.

Investigators from The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, CA, evaluated skin fibroblasts from a patient with parkinsonism carrying a triplication in the α-syn gene (SNCA). The cells showed a significant decrease in cell growth compared with healthy controls. "Our results in patient-derived fibroblasts were remarkably similar to overexpression experiments in cell lines and animal models. We detected a decrease in ATP production, a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential, and a reduction in complex I activity," commented Birgitt Schόle, MD, Assistant Professor, The Parkinson's Institute. Furthermore, these fibroblasts proved to be more sensitive to the effects of the neurotoxin and herbicide paraquat compared to controls.

Mitochondrial function and cellular damage were partially rescued after siRNA knockdown of α-synuclein in fibroblasts after paraquat treatment. "We observed a significant increase in membrane potential and cellular ATP synthesis as well as a decrease in LDH release, supporting the hypothesis that α-synuclein expression levels are directly related to mitochondrial dysfunction," said Dr. Schόle.

According to Dr. William Langston, the Scientific Director and CEO of The Parkinson's Institute, and a co-author on the paper, these results are particularly exciting because they directly link a-syn over-expression and mitochondrial dysfunction in tissue from a parkinsonian patient. "One of the keys to unraveling this incurable and progressive disease is to solve the relationship between a-syn and mitochondrial dysfunction. In these results, we may have the first such link in human tissue," Langston said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sally K. Mak, Deepika Tewari, James W. Tetrud, William J. Langston, and Birgitt Schόle. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Skin Fibroblasts from a Parkinson's Disease Patient with an alpha-Synuclein Triplication. Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 1(2) DOI: 10.3233/JPD-2011-11205

Cite This Page:

IOS Press. "Study first to link mitochondrial dysfunction and alpha-Synuclein multiplication in human fibroblasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006184206.htm>.
IOS Press. (2011, October 6). Study first to link mitochondrial dysfunction and alpha-Synuclein multiplication in human fibroblasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006184206.htm
IOS Press. "Study first to link mitochondrial dysfunction and alpha-Synuclein multiplication in human fibroblasts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006184206.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

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