Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease

Date:
May 16, 2014
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
In Parkinson’s disease (PD), dopamine-producing nerve cells that control our movements waste away. Current treatments for PD therefore aim at restoring dopamine contents in the brain. In a new study, researchers are attacking the problem from a different angle, through early activation of a protein that improves the brain's capacity to cope with a host of harmful processes.

In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopamine-producing nerve cells that control our movements waste away.

Current treatments for PD therefore aim at restoring dopamine contents in the brain. In a new study from Lund University, researchers are attacking the problem from a different angle, through early activation of a protein that improves the brain's capacity to cope with a host of harmful processes. Stimulatingthe protein, called Sigma-1 receptor, sets off a battery of defence mechanisms and restores lost motor function. The results were obtained in mice, but clinical trials in patients may not be far away.

By activating the Sigma-1 receptor, a versatile protein involved in many cellular functions, levels of several molecules that help nerve cells build new connections increased, inflammation decreased, while dopamine levels also rose. The results, published in the journal Brain, show a marked improvement of motor symptoms in mice with a Parkinson-like condition that had been treated with a Sigma-1-stimulating drug for 5 weeks.

This treatment has never before been studied in connection with Parkinson's disease. However, various publications linked to stroke and motor neurone disease have reported positive results with drugs that stimulate the Sigma-1 receptor, and a biotech company in the US will soon begin clinical trials on Alzheimer's patients. The fact that substances stimulating this protein are already available for clinical use is a major advantage, according to Professor M. Angela Cenci Nilsson, head of the research team at Lund University.

"It is a huge advantage that these substances have already been tested in people and approved for clinical application. It means that we already know that the body tolerates this treatment. Clinical trials for Parkinson's disease could theoretically start any time."

Boosting the brain's in-built defence mechanisms with approaches like this is a rather new idea in Parkinson's research. Professor Cenci Nilsson, however, believes that the number of targets for future treatments is increasing as we learn more and more about the complex effects of PD on many different types of cells in the brain.

"The motor improvements we have seen in mice are disproportionately large compared to the recovery of dopamine levels. We believe this is because the treatment has protected the brain against a series of indirect consequences triggered by the Parkinson-like lesion. For example, we know today that a loss of dopamine causes the target neurons to lose synapses, and also alters both neural pathways and non-neuronal cells in the brain. Since the Sigma-1 receptor is widely expressed in many cell types, the treatment could intervene in many of these damaging processes ."

The treatment was shown to be significantly more effective when started at the beginning of the most aggressive phase of dopamine cell death. As a future potential therapy for Parkinson's disease, this treatment would therefore need to be started as soon as possible after diagnosis in order to deliver maximum impact.

"In order to accelerate a possible clinical translation of our findings, we will now seek further evidence in support of this type of treatment. We are now discussing various opportunities with different collaborating partners, and we will try to procure funding for clinical studies in Parkinson΄s disease as soon as possible," concludes M. Angela Cenci Nilsson.


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. V. Francardo, F. Bez, T. Wieloch, H. Nissbrandt, K. Ruscher, M. A. Cenci. Pharmacological stimulation of sigma-1 receptors has neurorestorative effects in experimental parkinsonism. Brain, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awu107

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140516092046.htm>.
Lund University. (2014, May 16). New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140516092046.htm
Lund University. "New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140516092046.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
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