Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Key Cause of Parkinson’s Disease Can Be Treated

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

A new study that modelled the early stages of Parkinson’s disease has given researchers an insight into its causes – and a possible treatment.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most prevalent neurological condition after dementia. The disease is characterised by the abnormal accumulation in the brain of a protein called α-synuclein, as well as the loss of dopamine-producing cells in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. The loss of these cells causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s, including trembling, stiffness, slowness of movement and a loss of fine motor control.

“We’ve shown how inflammation within the brain is related to the development of Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr Nic Dzamko of Neuroscience Research Australia, “and we’ve identified a potential mechanism that can prevent this inflammation. It offers hope and introduces a new target for therapeutic research, which we’re now working on.”

The study, published in Acta Neuropathologica, turned pluripotent human skin cells into neuronal cells in order to understand the effects of inflammation on the brain. “Although the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease are unknown, accumulating evidence suggests that inflammation plays a strong role in the development of the disease,” Dzamko says.

The brain uses toll-like receptors (TLR) to detect pathogens and regulate inflammation arising...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.