Study Discovers Molecule that Triggers Parkinson’s Disease

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A molecule has been figured out that seems to play a significant role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating disease that affects millions of people across the globe.

This discovery, however, could result in various therapies, potentially comprising drugs that are present on the market, and it could further facilitate early diagnosis and thus prevention of the neurological disorder.

Acrolein is Used for the Very First Time in Animal Model

This is, however,”good news, bad news, good news” and the development requires watching.
The good news is that Researchers from Purdue University have figured out a compound that gathers in the tissue that is affected by Parkinson’s disease. The compound called acrolein and it is a foul-smelling, toxic, byproduct of burning fat which is used by brain fat as fuel and it is generally diminished from the body. However, the research team has discovered that the substance can help in the promotion of the build-up of a protein known as alpha-synuclein. When this protein gets accumulated in substantia nigra, a region of the brain called the, it destroys the cell membranes and various other key machineries of neurons, thereby killing these brain cells.

Dr. Riyi Shi, professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, states that when such cell death becomes quite extensive, the symptoms pertaining to the Parkinson’s disease become evident. Shi further states that acrolein is a novel therapeutic target, so this is the very first time that it has been shown in the model of an animal and if the level of acrolein is lowered, it can actually slow down the progression of the disease.

Jean-Christophe (Chris) Rochet, professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy, is the co-investigator of the said study.

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