Authors: Adam Price-Evans
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh (PA, USA) led by J. Timothy Greenamyre (University of Pittsburgh ) appear to have elucidated the mechanism by which alpha-synuclein causes neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease (PD) brains. The findings were published recently in Science Translational Medicine.
PD is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with motor symptoms including tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability. A key pathological feature of PD is the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain, accompanied by the formation of alpha-synuclein rich Lewy body protein aggregates. High levels of alpha-synuclein have also been linked to the disruption of normal mitochondrial functioning, however the relationship between these two entities has remained unclear.