Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hunting down trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells

Date:
June 16, 2014
Source:
Medical University of Vienna
Summary:
The function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson’s patients has been compared to a healthy test group in a new study. Researchers found out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.

In the brain, dopamine mediates the exchange of information between different neurons and, to help it do this, it is continuously reformed at the contact points between the corresponding nerve cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Medical University of Vienna

A study group at the Medical University of Vienna's Centre for Brain Research has investigated the function of an intracellular dopamine pump in Parkinson's patients compared to a healthy test group. It turned out that this pump is less effective at pumping out dopamine and storing it in the brain cells of Parkinson's sufferers. If dopamine is not stored correctly, however, it can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.

In the brain, dopamine mediates the exchange of information between different neurons and, to help it do this, it is continuously reformed at the contact points between the corresponding nerve cells. It is stored in structures known as vesicles (intracellular bubbles) and it is released when required. In people with Parkinson's disease, the death of these nerve cells causes a lack of dopamine, and this in turn causes the familiar movement problems such as motor retardation, stiffness of the muscles and tremors.

More than 50 years ago, in the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna (now the MedUni Vienna), Herbert Ehringer and Oleh Hornykiewicz discovered that Parkinson's disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in certain regions of the brain. This discovery enabled Hornykiewicz to introduce the amino acid L-DOPA into the treatment of Parkinson's to substitute the dopamine and make the symptoms of the condition manageable for years.

The reasons for the death of nerve cells in Parkinson's disease are not yet fully understood, however, which is why it is still not possible to prevent the disease from developing. Nevertheless, dopamine itself, if it is not stored correctly in vesicles, can cause self-destruction of the affected nerve cells.

Now, a further step forward has been taken in the research into the causes of this disease: a study at the MedUni Vienna's Centre for Brain Research, led by Christian Pifl and the now 87-year-old Oleh Hornykiewicz, compared the brains of deceased Parkinson's patients with those of a neurologically healthy control group. For the first time, it was possible to prepare the dopamine-storing vesicles from the brains so that their ability to store dopamine by pumping it in could be measured in quantitative terms.

It turned out that the pumps in the vesicles of Parkinson's sufferers pumped the dopamine out less efficiently. "This pump deficiency and the associated reduction in dopamine storage capacity of the Parkinson's vesicles could lead to dopamine collecting in the nerve cells, developing its toxic effect and destroying the nerve cells," explains Christian Pifl.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Pifl, A. Rajput, H. Reither, J. Blesa, C. Cavada, J. A. Obeso, A. H. Rajput, O. Hornykiewicz. Is Parkinson's Disease a Vesicular Dopamine Storage Disorder? Evidence from a Study in Isolated Synaptic Vesicles of Human and Nonhuman Primate Striatum. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (24): 8210 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5456-13.2014

Cite This Page:

Medical University of Vienna. "Hunting down trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616082146.htm>.
Medical University of Vienna. (2014, June 16). Hunting down trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616082146.htm
Medical University of Vienna. "Hunting down trigger for Parkinson's: Failing dopamine pump damages brain cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616082146.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Heart Association's first policy statement on electronic cigarettes backs them as a last resort to help smokers quit and calls for more regulation to keep them away from youth. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest group pushing for middle schools and high schools to start later, for the sake of their kids. 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