Will Parkinson be curable in the near future?
Identifying two of the body's own molecules could help stop Parkinson's disease from progressing in the future. This offers hope for a natural way to treat people with Parkinson's more effectively.
In a recent study led by researchers from McLean Hospital at Harvard Medical School (USA), two molecules were identified that can prevent Parkinson's progress by producing dopamine. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Nature Chemical Biology".
What role did the protein Nurr1 play?
The team designed the study based on the finding that a protein called Nurr1 is key to maintaining the health of the neurons that produce dopamine. These neurons also indirectly help control a person's movements and emotions. It is believed that reduced effectiveness of Nurr1 can lead to a decrease in dopamine levels, which in turn leads to the development of Parkinson's disease, the researchers report.
Three already approved drugs bind to Nurr1
“We thought that small molecules that could activate Nurr1 could be promising drug candidates for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. In 2015, after many years of research, we found three FDA-approved drugs that bind to Nurr1 and activate it, ”explains study author Professor Dr. Kwang-Soo Kim from Harvard Medical School in a press release.
Promising natural molecules
This finding prompted the researchers to hypothesize that there could be natural molecules (endogenous ligands) that also bind to Nurr1 but have no side effects. When the research group looked for such molecules in various mouse tissues, they found hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins A1 and E1 as promising candidates that bind to and activate the Nurr1 protein.
The researchers also created a model that shows the structure of these molecules when they are bound to the Nurr1 protein. Information obtained in this way will be of crucial importance if treatment strategies aimed at Nurr1 are to be optimized.
Protect neurons from neurotoxins
The results of the study show that physiological concentrations of prostaglandin A1 or E1 in the nanomolar range can protect the dopamine neurons from neurotoxins. The researchers also found that using prostaglandin A1 or E1 in mouse models that induced the development of Parkinson's-like symptoms significantly improved the animals' motor skills and functions without any signs of side effects.
Finally, analyzes of the brains of the animals showed that the treatment protected the dopamine-producing brain cells from dying off and caused them to produce higher dopamine levels.
More research is needed
"Although we have shown in animal models that these molecules can correct Parkinson's-like symptoms in a neuroprotective manner, further research is essential to determine whether they can work in human clinical trials," adds Professor Kim (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Sreekanth Rajan, Yongwoo Jang, Chun-Hyung Kim, Woori Kim, Hui Ting Toh et al .: PGE1 and PGA1 bind to Nurr1 and activate its transcriptional function, in Nature Chemical Biology (published May 25, 2020), Nature Chemical Biology
- New Discovery May Lead to Effective and Natural Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, McLean Hospital (Published May 28, 2020), McLean Hospital