Saturday, November 15, 2014

Daily Dish on Parkinson's

News Brief by Lushna Mehra

            Scientists of The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute used identical twins, an unrelated Parkinson’s patient, and four healthy control subjects in order to create a human stem cell disease model of Parkinson’s in a dish.  Parkinson’s disease is deemed moderately heritable, though the mode of inheritance involved is still unclear.  DNA mutations that cause the production of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GBA) are linked to a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s in 30% of people with the mutation.  This low percentage shows that there are many other contributing factors to the development of the disease.  As a result, identical twins both with the GBA mutation, though one had Parkinson’s and one did not, were studied.  Scientists took skin samples from each of the twins to create the cellular model of Parkinson’s by recreating dopamine deficiency and the presence of alpha-synuclein, which collects when the disease is present.  They noted that the affected twin’s neurons did not have a strong neural network, produced less dopamine, and had higher levels of the enzyme MAO-B.  Treating such neurons with molecules that lower MAO-B with excessive GBA was able to normalize the alpha-synuclein and dopamine levels in cell models. This indicates that some sort of combination therapy that targets the two enzymes for the affected twin could be a possible treatment.  More of such research could aid in understanding the genetic inheritance of Parkinson’s and other related disorders.

New York Stem Cell Foundation. "Scientists create Parkinson's disease in a dish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2014. .
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