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Protein's destructive journey in brain may cause Parkinson's
ScienceNews ^ | November 16, 2012 | Laura Sanders

Posted on 11/29/2012 12:56:56 PM PST by neverdem

Clumps of alpha-synuclein move through dopamine-producing cells, mouse study finds

The insidious spread of an abnormal protein may be behind Parkinson’s disease, a study in mice suggests. A harmful version of the protein crawls through the brains of healthy mice, killing brain cells and damaging the animals’ balance and coordination, researchers report in the Nov. 16 Science.

If a similar process happens in humans, the results could eventually point to ways to stop Parkinson’s destruction in the brain. “I really think that this model will increase our ability to come up with Parkinson’s disease therapies,” says study coauthor Virginia Lee of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

The new study targets a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease — clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The clumps, called Lewy bodies, pile up inside nerve cells in the brain and cause trouble, particularly in cells that make dopamine, a chemical messenger that helps control movement. Death of these dopamine-producing cells leads to the characteristic tremors and muscle rigidity seen in people with Parkinson’s.

Lee and her team injected alpha-synuclein into the brains of healthy mice. After 30 days, the protein had spread to connected brain regions, suggesting that rogue alpha-synuclein moves from cell to cell, the scientists found. Months later, the spreading was even more extensive.

Alpha-synuclein appeared to colonize several areas of the otherwise...


Scientists don’t know whether such cell-to-cell transmission happens in people, because it’s impossible to do similar studies on humans. But some clues come from the brain of a woman with Parkinson’s who received stem cell transplants in an effort to replenish her missing neurons. Fourteen years after the procedure, Lewy bodies were found in these previously healthy transplanted cells, raising the possibility that alpha-synuclein had spread there from the rest of the brain....

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: alphasynuclein; parkinsons; parkinsonsdisease; stemcells
Lewy body–like pathology in long-term embryonic nigral transplants in Parkinson's disease

Any immunosuppressants? It doesn't say.

Trans-Synaptic Spread of Tau Pathology In Vivo mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, another neurodegenerative disease

Our data demonstrate propagation of pathology from the EC and support a trans-synaptic mechanism of spread along anatomically connected networks, between connected and vulnerable neurons.

1 posted on 11/29/2012 12:57:10 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Probably caused by cats.

2 posted on 11/29/2012 1:08:16 PM PST by frithguild (You can call me Snippy the Anti-Freeper)
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To: neverdem

It sounds vaguely mad-cowish.

3 posted on 11/29/2012 1:41:42 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: frithguild

I’d heard there was a parasitic ailment of mice carried by (but not affecting) cats which makes them likely to run right into the cats’ paws.

When people get it, it only causes them to become cat ladies (or cat gentlemen) who accumulate a houseful of about 150 of them.

4 posted on 11/29/2012 1:44:09 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
It sounds vaguely mad-cowish.

It is, the main similarity being accumulating mainly normal proteins and behaving badly by misfolding, like some "housekeeping" function stopped working.

5 posted on 11/29/2012 2:46:19 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem; All

My beloved husband of 45 years died last spring from Parkinson’s Plus, which made the last 10 years of his life increasingly miserable.

I am praying that something is found to stop the progression of this terrible disease. People have no idea of how much suffering goes along with Parkinson’s. It isn’t just the muscle problems.

There are problems with body temperature control, unremitting constipation, anxiety and panic disorder that current meds can’t treat, peripheral neuropathy, loss of executive function, and eventually all the body systems just shut down.

I was his primary caregiver for the past ten years, and watched a brilliant man be destroyed by this.

And, a hospital is no place for a fragile Parkinson’s patient. They can’t figure out how to get the meds scheduled on time (critical) and properly spaced apart from meals. Neither can a rehab unit. Home care is the best, but it really takes a toll on the caregiver, who has to be on alert 24/7.

6 posted on 11/29/2012 7:09:52 PM PST by jacquej
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To: jacquej

God Bless you and your dear husband, Jacquej.

7 posted on 11/29/2012 8:45:29 PM PST by Amberdawn
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