Fruit flies help shed light on development of Parkinson’s disease

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Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 13 June 2017

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A study carried out by medical students from Juntendo University in Tokyo, Japan, has found that a loss of mitochondrial protein can exacerbate the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

The research centred on the study of mutant fruit flies. The team examined what happened to the flies that lacked mitochondrial protein CHCHD2 – a protein that plays a key role in maintaining the structure of cells.

The study found that the lack of CHCHD2 led to motor dysfunctions, such as the loss of climbing ability, as the flies aged. However, when researchers introduced a form of human CHCHD2 to the flies, the dysfunctions were reversed.

The researchers, led by medical students Hongrui Meng and Chikara Yamashita, said their results shed light on the role of CHCHD2 mutations in Parkinson’s and offer “potential therapeutic targets in Parkinson’s caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.”

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