Boise State scientists have discovered that tremors and motor dysfunction related to Parkinson’s Disease is related to loss of dopaminergic neurons, which produce dopamine.
Dopamine is essential to movement. It has always been
believed that reversing the loss of these neurons was impossible, but based on
research in a new paper by Brad Morrison’s research group it could lead to new
therapies that allow for regeneration of the neurons that produce dopamine.
Morrison based his research on a hypothesis that Parkinson’s Disease creates a condition in which the regeneration of these particular neurons is blocked, effectively causing the progression of the disease. Based on research studies with stem cells, as well as laboratory observation of inflammatory response in a mouse model, indications are that swelling and inflammation may be the source of blockage.
After removing a gene identified by tracing lineage of these neurons using recombinant DNA technology, Morrison noted implications that the dopaminergic neurons must be replenished by stem cells.
Further studies could identify ways to treat and even reverse Parkinson’s Disease, which is also the second most common neurodegenerative disease faced today.