Parkinson’s disease is associated with accumulation of protein alpha-synuclein within brain cells.
The study helped to identify new causes of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable and steadily progressive neurologic disease that is characterized by a sharp reduction in the number of neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The mechanics of the disease are well known to science, but there is still no clear answer to the question of what exactly leads to such violations.
Researchers from the UK conducted a detailed analysis of the brain cells, which helped them to discover new mechanisms leading to the development of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
However, how these protein clusters make neurons to die, remained a mystery. Using a combination of detailed cellular and molecular approaches to compare healthy and diseased alpha synuclein, the scientists were able to figure out how they become toxic to neurons.
It turned out that the accumulation of alpha-synuclein move and damage key proteins on the surface of mitochondria, making them less efficient in energy production. Also it makes the channels on the surface of mitochondria to open, which leads to swelling and ruptures, leaks of chemical substances that inform the cells about the necessity of death.