AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Diverse Parkinson’s-Related Disorders May Stem From Different Strains of Same Protein

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One form found in a brain structural cell is 1,000-fold more potent in causing disease in an animal model


Different Parkinson’s-related brain disorders, called synucleionpathies, are characterized by misfolded proteins embedded in cells. Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that the type of brain cell afflicted dictates which a pathological protein becomes the disease culprit. 

“These unexpected findings of the effect of cell type on the generation of different ?-syn strains addresses one of the most important mysteries in neurodegenerative disease research,” said first author Chao Peng, PhD, a research associate in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR).

The relationship between cell type and variety of disease protein has not been described for any other neurodegenerative brain disorder. For now, the hope is that one strain associated with multiple system atrophy (MSA) might point the way to new therapies.

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