AsianScientist (May 18, 2017) – In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers have identified a substance which could potentially prevent Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disease caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the middle cerebral blood. It is a disease with high incidence in the population over the age of 60.
It is known that mutation or low expression of the parkin protein, a part of the system which hydrolyzes intracellular proteins, accelerates the accumulation of toxic proteins that must be removed in cells and induces dopaminergic neuronal cell death and Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain disease. Currently, Parkinson’s disease is one of the Korean government’s four major target serious illnesses. However, there are no drugs that can prevent the death of dopaminergic neurons.
In the present study, a team led by Professor Lee Yunjong at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology performed a high-throughput screen to identify drug candidates that promote dopaminergic neuronal cell activation by inducing the expression of parkin.
Using the drug candidate, they found that the stress hormone cortisol induces the expression of parkin and prevents dopaminergic neuronal death by eliminating the accumulation of cell death factors through ubiquitin proteasome system.
“The significance of this study is that it has identified that the expression of parkin protein induced by a moderate level of stress hormone cortisol could be an important factor in maintaining the viability of dopaminergic neurons,” said senior researcher Dr. Lee Yoon-Il.
“We will continue to conduct follow-up studies such as clinical studies so that the Parkinson’s disease will be curable in the future.”
Source: Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology.
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