Faulty Cellular Membrane “Mix” Linked To Parkinson’s Disease
Working with lab-grown human brain cells, Johns Hopkins researchers report they have uncovered a much sought-after connection between one of the most common genetic mutations in Parkinson’s disease and the formation of fatty plaques in the brain thought to contribute to the destruction of motor neurons that characterize the disease.
The mutation occurs in a gene that holds the code for GBA1, an enzyme that metabolizes fatty molecules in the cell, which make up most of brain cell membranes. The researchers believe that changes in the mixture of fatty molecules cause protein pieces to stick together in the brain, forming “dead zones” in the brain known as Lewy bodies, which can negatively affect movement, learning and behavior.
“We believe this study gives us a better understanding of the effects of GBA1 mutation and its role in the development and progress of Parkinson’s disease,” says Han Seok Ko, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Institute for Cell Engineering.
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