Researchers at Ajou University Medical Center have discovered a protein that may help develop a drug to treat Parkinson's disease.
|Professors Park Sang-myun (left) and Choi Yu-ree|
Parkinson's disease is an illness that is becoming a real problem as the number of patients is rapidly increasing due to longer life expectancy, with no apparent treatment available to control the symptoms.
The disease causes a patient's hands and feet to shake and gradually stiffens the patient's body, making it difficult to move and speak. It can also cause constipation, dizziness, sleep disorders, depression, and dementia, drastically lowering the patients' quality of life.
"Parkinson's disease is a chronic degenerative brain disease caused by the death of certain neurons that secrete a neurotransmitter called dopamine into the brain," the team said. "However, the apparent cause is still unknown."
To provide a better treatment option for patients, the team, led by Professors Park Sang-myun and Choi Yu-ree, revealed that the etiology of Parkinson's disease relates to FcγRIIB expressed in neurons and SHP-1/-2, its sub-signal transporter in 2018.
This time around, the team confirmed that c-src, a lower level of the signal transduction system, is involved in α-synuclein intercellular metastasis.
The α-synuclein is the main component of Lewy body, a protein aggregation specific for Parkinson's disease. The protein is known to play an essential role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease due to gene mutations found in patients who have family-type Parkinson's disease.
"C-src regulates the secretion of α-synuclein by regulating autophagy in cells that secrete the protein," the team said. "We further confirmed that the cells that take in α-synuclein are involved in the metastasis between cells by controlling the process of endocytosis, which is the process of the α-synuclein entering the cells."
In an animal experiment, the researchers injected drugs that inhibit c-src to rats and confirmed that it suppressed such a metastasis. As there are many new anticancer drugs in development that target c-src, there is a possibility that the development of such a therapeutic agent may also help treat Parkinson's disease as well, they said in a news release.
"Amid rapid population aging, there is an urgent need to develop treatments for Parkinson's disease," Professor Park said. "As a result of this study, we could confirm that a therapeutic agent targeting c-src, which is currently being developed at home and abroad, could contribute to developing the treatment for Parkinson's disease."
The journal, EMBO Reports, published the results of the study recently, titled “Dual role of c-src in cell-to-cell transmission of α-synuclein."
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