In a new study, researchers found exposure to the metal manganese may be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Too much exposure to this metal could lead to misfolded proteins in the brain and cause neurological diseases.
The research was conducted by researchers from Iowa State University.
Metal manganese has a range of industrial uses as an alloy.
Previous studies have shown that although small amounts of manganese are important for the proper human body functioning, too much exposure has been linked with neurological symptoms.
This is because manganese could accumulate in brain tissues.
The links between metal manganese and neurological disorders have been reported since the 1950s.
In the current study, the team examined data from mice as well as blood serum samples from welders. The blood serum samples were provided by clinicians at Penn State University.
They found that manganese could combine with a protein in the brain called alpha- synuclein.
Welders exposed to manganese had increased misfolded alpha-synuclein serum content. This means these welders are at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s symptoms.
The findings may help develop a new medical test to detect the presence of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain.
Such a test may also show whether a person is at risk before symptoms appear.
The team hopes this could lead to earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease and better outcomes for patients.
It is also important to develop new drugs to slow the disease. Parkinson’s disease may be harder to slow down when it advances.
The leader of the study is Anumantha Kanthasamy, a Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in veterinary medicine and the Eugene and Linda Lloyd Endowed Chair of Neurotoxicology.
The study is published in Science Signaling.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.