Publication date: Mar 13, 2019
In contrast to what was previously believed, a key protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease – called Nurr1 – can be modulated using naturally existing molecules or engineered small molecules to restore dopamine production in brain cells, according to a study.
Conducted by researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the new study provides evidence that the activation of Nurr1 may represent a viable strategy to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Preclinical data has shown that elevating the levels of Nurr1 can reduce inflammation and improve the survival of neurons, while reduction of the protein leads to motor symptoms in mice similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease.
Using experimental cell and fish models, the researchers tested the potential of DHI to enhance Nurr1’s activity.
In addition, DHI-triggered activation of Nurr1 led to increased production of dopamine transporters in fish, including VMAT2 – a protein that regulates the packaging and release of dopamine into the synapse, the junction between two nerve cells that allow them to communicate.
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