Researchers have identified processes in the brain that may allow early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, development of treatments, and prevention of its spread.
They hope to eventually be able to focus on determining whether young people are susceptible to the disease before they show symptoms and slowing its progression.
“Currently, most treatments are aimed at preventing the disease from getting worse rather than preventing it,” said Dr. Shani Stern. University of HaifaSagol Department of Neurobiology.
“If we can identify the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease early and develop treatments that stop the progression of the disease, we will be able to initiate preventive treatment when neuronal mortality is limited.
“This can significantly slow the progression of the disease.”
For the first time, researchers were able to demonstrate that the way cells connect to networks of proteins in the brain is compromised in Parkinson’s patients who did not develop the disease due to genetic factors. illness.
They took cells from specific individuals, reprogrammed them into stem cells, and then differentiated them as different types of cells with the same genetic load as the individuals they took. Skin samples were obtained from 9 patients with a variant of
Skin cells were converted into stem cells and then into dopaminergic neurons. Dopaminergic neurons are brain cells that synthesize the dopamine needed to properly perform motor activity. Patients with Parkinson’s disease have lost large amounts of nerve cells in areas of the brain densely populated with dopaminergic neurons.
These neurons carried the genetic burden of each patient and were “sick” with the same type of Parkinson’s disease as that participant. and found a decrease in synaptic activity involved in the transmission of neural messages.
“The dopaminergic neurons we examined were obtained from patients through reprogramming that rejuvenates them into younger cells,” Dr. Stern said.
“This means that we can see changes in electrical activity, genes and proteins in the extracellular matrix from a young age.
“This means that these changes were present long before Parkinson’s patients were aware of the disease process going on in their brains. If you find a figure similar to that seen in someone who has had it, you can speculate that this individual will develop the disease at a later stage.