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Boost for dopamine packaging protects brain in Parkinson's model

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
Emory Health Sciences
Summary:
An increase in the protein that helps store dopamine, a critical brain chemical, led to enhanced dopamine neurotransmission and protection from a Parkinson's disease-related neurotoxin in mice in a recent study. Dopamine and related neurotransmitters are stored in small storage packages called vesicles by the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2). When released from these packages dopamine can help regulate movement, pleasure, and emotional response.

Researchers from Emory's Rollins School of Public Health discovered that an increase in the protein that helps store dopamine, a critical brain chemical, led to enhanced dopamine neurotransmission and protection from a Parkinson's disease-related neurotoxin in mice.

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Dopamine and related neurotransmitters are stored in small storage packages called vesicles by the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2). When released from these packages dopamine can help regulate movement, pleasure, and emotional response. Low dopamine levels are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and recent research has shown that VMAT2 function is impaired in people with the disease.

Lead researcher Gary W. Miller, PhD, professor and associate dean for research at the Rollins School of Public Health and his team generated transgenic mice with increased levels of VMAT2 and found it led to an increase in dopamine release. In addition, the group found improved outcomes on anxiety and depressive behaviors, increased movement, and protection from MPTP, the chemical that can cause Parkinson's disease-related damage in the brain.

The complete study is available in the June 17, 2014 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

According to Miller, "This work suggests that enhanced vesicular filling can be sustained over time and may be a viable therapeutic approach for a variety of central nervous system disorders that involve the storage and release of dopamine, serotonin, or norepinephrine."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. K. M. Lohr, A. I. Bernstein, K. A. Stout, A. R. Dunn, C. R. Lazo, S. P. Alter, M. Wang, Y. Li, X. Fan, E. J. Hess, H. Yi, L. M. Vecchio, D. S. Goldstein, T. S. Guillot, A. Salahpour, G. W. Miller. Increased vesicular monoamine transporter enhances dopamine release and opposes Parkinson disease-related neurodegeneration in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402134111

Cite This Page:

Emory Health Sciences. "Boost for dopamine packaging protects brain in Parkinson's model." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102927.htm>.
Emory Health Sciences. (2014, June 17). Boost for dopamine packaging protects brain in Parkinson's model. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102927.htm
Emory Health Sciences. "Boost for dopamine packaging protects brain in Parkinson's model." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102927.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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