The findings of a new Norwegian study may help scientists understand who is affected by Parkinson’s disease. They hope the study could also be a step towards a treatment.
Researchers from the University of Bergen are behind the study, which was presented this week in the journal, Nature Communications, reported the newspaper, VG.
They have studied brain tissue from ten Parkinson patients and compared it with tissue from healthy subjects.
While healthy people have a mechanism that protects the genetic material in the mitochondria (the cell’s power plant working against old-age-related conditions), this doesn’t seem to work with those who have Parkinson disease.
‘Mitochondria contain their own little piece of DNA, which informs them how to build up their energy generators. It is known that as people age, there occurs increasing damage in mitochondrial DNA, and this can lead to failure of the generator, energy shortages and disease’, said neuroscientist, Charalampos Tzoulis.
The brain cells of healthy people can compensate for this by producing more mitochondrial DNA.
‘What surprised us was that this protection mechanism seems to fail in people with Parkinson’s disease, so the brain is exposed to aging’s harmful effects’, said Tzoulis.
He hopes the knowledge gained by the study may be a key to future treatment of the disease, which affects around 6,000 Norwegians.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today