Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of nervous systems that mostly affects body movements. Shakings of hands and slowness of movement are two major symptoms of this disease. However, scientists are not able to find the real cause of disease. It is not unclear what are major factors that play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. The new research was published that showed some prevailing concepts related to Parkinson’s disease mechanism.
It has become the major prevailing disease in the united states and according to an estimation that in 2020 nearly 930,000 people with age of 45 or older will be suffering from Parkinson disease in U.S.As is the major disease in the U.S, still, the scientists are not able to find the real cause of disease and found no way for its cure.
The disease may involve motor symptoms such as shakiness of hands, limb rigidity and slowness of movements. The patients may have a bad quality of life with these symptoms. So, scientists are trying to find ways for reducing the effect of these symptoms.
Scientists found that motor symptoms appear when dopaminergic neurons start degrading abnormally and there is low or no dopamine in the brain. Dopaminergic neurons are the brain cells that make a chemical messenger called dopamine. For treatment, doctors usually prescribe L-DOPA to the people with Parkinson’s disease which helps the brain for boosting the level of dopamine and decrease the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Patients may face serious side effects if they use L-DOPA for a long time such as erratic, involuntary movements. But if the symptoms do not appear with the abnormal death of dopaminergic neurons then scientists must find new ways for understanding the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and its related treatment.
The new research published in the journal Current Biology showed that motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease occur before the death of dopaminergic neurons.
In their study, the investigators worked with mouse models of Parkinson’s disease and analyzed brain samples from both healthy people and people with Parkinson’s.
In this research, the mouse models were used with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers also observed the samples of the brain both from diseased people and healthy people.
Scientists also found that before the death of dopaminergic neurons their function becomes reduced and eventually stops which means these neurons stop producing dopamine and it led to the appearance of motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
According to Lee, the conventional idea of dying neurons stopped investigators to find out the more activities or mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s disease for example astrocytes. There was no possibility of reversing Parkinson’s disease with the death of neurons, but he found that there some dormant neurons that can be stimulated to resume the capability of producing dopamine. This will improve the quality of life in Parkinson’s patients.
Astrocytes are the star-shaped cells that non-neuronal cells and there are adjacent with neuronal cells. In the rodent models, it was seen that when the neurons start dying off the astrocytes began to increase in number in the brain. With this, the brain also started to produce a chemical messenger called GABA. This chemical when reaches the level of excess, stops the dopaminergic cells from synthesizing dopamine. This similar process is seen in Parkinson’s patients.
Scientists found a way to restore the function of affected dopaminergic neurons. It would be done if astrocytes are stopped producing the chemical GABA. With effect, there is a significant decrease in the motor symptoms that occur in Parkinson’s disease.
Another way is found to restore the function of neurons. In this way, the researchers stop the synthesis of dopamine in the neurons by using optogenetic tools (a technology that controls the activities of living cells through light). The action of optogenetic tools usually induces motor symptoms in rats with Parkinson. But by using optogenetic tools more than one time the function of dormant dopaminergic neurons is stimulated, and it reduces the severity of motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers said that with the conventional belief of death of neurons there was no treatment available for reversing the function of affected neurons, but the new study gives the way for finding the cause of dopaminergic neurons.
According to Sang Ryong Jeon, the death of neurons is the cause of idiopathic disease in the substantia nigra of the brain. Astrocytes are the main cause that causes dopaminergic cells dysfunctional and inhibits the production of dopamine. This discovery is a turning point in the understanding of the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease.