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Re­search­ers cor­rect Par­kin­son's mo­tor symp­toms in mice

Date:
December 15, 2016
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
A research group has succeeded in correcting the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease in mice. These results are promising in terms of treatment, since Parkinson's disease is practically always diagnosed only after motor symptoms appear.
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A research group led by University of Helsinki Docent Timo Myöhänen has succeeded in correcting the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease in mice. These results are promising in terms of treatment, since Parkinson's disease is practically always diagnosed only after motor symptoms appear.

Up to two per cent of people over 60 contract Parkinson's. The disease causes severe motor symptoms, as it destroys the nerve cells in the brain's motor areas. The exact cause of the disease is not known, but during the past 15 years research has focused on a protein called alpha-synuclein, which has several functions in the brain areas that regulate motor functions.

This protein is prone to mis-folded forms, which can clump together as aggregates. In Parkinson's disease, aggregated alpha-synuclein proteins accumulate within nerve cells, damaging them. They can also propagate from one cell to the next and spread the impairment of nerve cells in the brain.

Researchers had previously known that the PREP enzyme, which occurs naturally in the body, can increase the formation of such harmful alpha-synuclein aggregates in the brain. Now researchers wanted to determine the connection that the enzyme and protein have to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by blocking PREP in the brain.

In the study, Myöhänen's group set up a mouse model for Parkinson's disease, in which the brain's motor areas were made to produce large amounts of alpha-synuclein. This led to the accumulation of mis-folded proteins in the brains of the mice as expected, resulting in the associated motor symptoms.

PREP blockers restore motor skills

The researchers began treatment with a PREP blocker only when the mice began manifesting clear motor symptoms. The situation would be similar in a human case of Parkinson's which is typically diagnosed only once the symptoms have appeared. Researchers were astounded by the rapid results.

"After as little as two weeks of treatment, the motor symptoms in the mice had practically disappeared. And they did not reappear until after the experiment was over," explains Myöhänen.

A detailed analysis established that the PREP blocker treatment had stopped the motor areas from becoming further damaged and had cleared the brain of nearly all accumulations of alpha-synuclein.

"We have a long way to go from animal models to human trials, but these results are extremely encouraging in terms of future drug development," says Myöhänen.

The results of Myöhänen's group have been published in the internationally Journal of Neuroscience.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Svarcbahs, U. H. Julku, T. T. Myohanen. Inhibition of Prolyl Oligopeptidase Restores Spontaneous Motor Behavior in the  -Synuclein Virus Vector-Based Parkinson's Disease Mouse Model by Decreasing  -Synuclein Oligomeric Species in Mouse Brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 2016; 36 (49): 12485 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2309-16.2016

Cite This Page:

University of Helsinki. "Re­search­ers cor­rect Par­kin­son's mo­tor symp­toms in mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161215105924.htm>.
University of Helsinki. (2016, December 15). Re­search­ers cor­rect Par­kin­son's mo­tor symp­toms in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161215105924.htm
University of Helsinki. "Re­search­ers cor­rect Par­kin­son's mo­tor symp­toms in mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161215105924.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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