Neurons from individuals with Parkinson’s disease were investigated by researchers from the United States and Canada, and they uncovered something completely intriguing. They came across a previously unknown cause of one of the symptoms of the condition, which may present itself before any of the others. More than 10 million individuals endure daily life with Parkinson’s disease throughout the world, and each year, there are 90,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States alone. As populations in every region of the world continue to age, it is anticipated that these numbers will continue to rise. The process of mitophagy is controlled by two genes known as Parkin and PINK1. It has been demonstrated in the past that abnormalities in these genes that prohibit them from performing their functions commonly are associated with a significantly increased chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.
We showed that dopaminergic synapses become dysfunctional before neuronal death occurs; […] Based on these findings, we hypothesize that targeting dysfunctional synapses before the neurons degenerate may represent a better therapeutic strategy, explained Dimitri Krainc, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University in the US.
The current agreement holds that difficulties in the way that obsolete mitochondria undergo recycling in the brain, a process officially known as mitophagy, are the cause of the decline in neurons that causes Parkinson’s disease and the signs and symptoms (such as shaking) that are associated with it.
In addition to the role it plays in the recycling of neurons, Parkin plays a formerly unidentified function in managing the amount of dopamine that is released across synapses. This function explains the puzzle. And now for something absolutely extraordinary. In the not-too-distant future, we can exert some degree of control over it.
According to the findings of the researchers, the identification of the process and its presence in the brain before the onset of any other possible causes would be of critical importance in the ongoing quest for therapies for Parkinson’s disease.