An Israeli-British-German study published in Acta Neuropathologica reveals a novel method for detecting the aggregation of the protein alpha-synuclein, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.
Earlier detection could enable more effective treatment for the incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the speech, posture, gait, digestion, sleep, impulse control and cognition of an estimated one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide.
By the time a patient is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, up to 80 percent of the dopaminergic cells in the substania nigra part of the brain are already dead, possibly due to toxicity resulting from alpha-synuclein aggregation.
“We have developed a new method for tracking early stages of aggregation of alpha-synuclein using super-resolution microscopy and advanced analysis,” announced Tel Aviv University Prof. Uri Ashery, co-author of the study and head of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience and Wise Faculty of Life Sciences.
“Together with our collaborators at Cambridge University, who developed a special mouse model for Parkinson’s disease, we were able to detect different stages of the aggregation of this protein. We correlated the aggregation with the deteriorating loss of neuronal activity and deficits in the behavior of the mice,” Ashery explained.
“This is a significant step forward in the world of Parkinson’s research,” he said.
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