Research offers new insights on a cause of Parkinson’s disease


Author: Saskia MairPublished: 22 July 2021

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Researchers in Denmark have shared insights on a cause of up to 95% of Parkinson’s disease cases.

Using data on gene patterns and three mouse models, scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that a blockage to a pathway regulating mitochondria (‘powerhouses’ that generate energy for reactions in cells) causes a form of the condition known as ‘sporadic Parkinson’s disease’. When the pathway becomes blocked by a protein, damaged mitochondria accumulate, unable to produce enough energy – which in turn causes nerve cells to die.

“Just like when people eat, cells take what they need and get rid of … waste products,” explained corresponding study author Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas. “But if our brain cells have this specific kind of signalling blockage, it means that the powerhouse of the cell – mitochondria – cannot get cleaned up after being damaged.”

The team now plan to investigate the pathway’s role in neuronal survival and cell death.

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