Scientists from the Krembil Brain Institute at UHN and the University of Toronto have made a significant discovery regarding Parkinson’s disease.
In a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers identified a protein-protein interaction that is believed to contribute to Parkinson’s disease.
The accumulation of the protein α-synuclein (a-syn) in the brain leads to cell death in Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers identified a peptide that reduced a-syn levels by disrupting the interaction between a-syn and a protein subunit called ESCRT-III, which is a component of a pathway that cells use to break down proteins.
ESCRT-III is part of the endolysosomal pathway, which the researchers discovered a-syn interacts with a protein within called CHMP2B to prevent its own destruction.
The team developed a platform to screen molecules called peptide motifs, short strings of amino acids that can disrupt protein-protein interactions for their ability to protect cells from a-syn.
Once they identified candidate peptides, they determined which protein-protein interactions they target.
Through this approach, the team found the a-syn-CHMP2B interaction, which is a potential therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that involve a buildup of a-syn, such as dementia with Lewy bodies.
The team tested the peptide in multiple experimental models of Parkinson’s disease and found that it restored endolysosomal function, promoted a-syn clearance, and prevented cell death.
According to Dr. Suneil Kalia, once the group identified this interaction, they confirmed that they could use their peptide to disrupt it, preventing a-syn from evading the cell’s natural clearance pathways.
The researchers emphasized that this study is still in its early stages, and more work is needed to translate this peptide into a viable therapeutic.
Nonetheless, their findings are very exciting because they suggest a new avenue for developing treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
The researchers also highlighted the value of multidisciplinary collaborations in health research.
They hope to seek out technologies used in other fields and apply them to Parkinson’s research to accelerate it.
The researchers added that it’s brand new science and brand new targets that haven’t been a focus for drug development for Parkinson’s disease, and they hope that their discovery will change the landscape for treating this disease.
How to prevent Parkinson’s disease
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent Parkinson’s disease, there are several lifestyle factors that may lower your risk of developing the condition:
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and may also slow its progression.
Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality has been linked to a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Avoid environmental toxins: Exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Limit exposure to these toxins as much as possible.
Protect your head: Traumatic brain injuries have been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Wear a helmet while cycling or participating in contact sports.
Stay mentally active: Regularly challenging your brain with activities such as puzzles and reading may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Manage stress: Chronic stress may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation or yoga, may be helpful.
It’s important to note that while these lifestyle factors may lower your risk of Parkinson’s disease, they cannot guarantee that you will not develop the condition.
If you have concerns about your risk for Parkinson’s disease, speak with your healthcare provider.
If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about new way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and results showing flavonoid-rich foods could improve survival in Parkinson’s disease.
The study was conducted by Satra Nim et al and published in Nature Communications.
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