New Discovery May Lead to Effective Natural Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

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Researchers operating in Dr. Kwang-Soo Kim’s laboratory. Credit: McLean Hospital

Certain hormone-like substances improve dopamine levels in the brain.

  • The Nurr1 protein keeps the health of nerve cells that produce dopamine and pass away off throughout the development of Parkinson’s illness.
  • Hormone-like substances called prostaglandin A1 and E1 bind to and trigger Nurr1.
  • Prostaglandin A1 or E1 treatment minimized signs in a mouse design of Parkinson’s illness.

Investigators have actually recognized 2 particles naturally produced by the body that promote the production of dopamine, the particle that remains in brief supply in the brains of clients with Parkinson’s illness. Stimulating dopamine production might assist reverse the development of the illness. The research study was led by researchers at McLean Hospital in cooperation with researchers at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore, and released in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

The group developed the research study based upon the understanding that a protein called Nurr1 is crucial for preserving the health of nerve cells that produce dopamine, which assists manage an individual’s motions and feelings. It is believed that reduced Nurr1 efficiency might cause a reduction in dopamine levels, which then leads to the advancement of Parkinson’s illness.

“We thought that small molecules that can activate Nurr1 may be promising drug candidates to treat Parkinson’s disease. After many years of research, in 2015, we found three FDA-approved drugs that bind to Nurr1 and activate it,” described senior author Kwang-Soo Kim, PhD, director of the Molecular Neurobiology Lab at McLean Hospital and a teacher of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “This finding prompted us to hypothesize that there may be natural molecules–that is, endogenous ligands–that also bind to Nurr1 but don’t have side effects.”

When the researchers searched for such particles in different tissues from mice, they discovered hormone-like substances called prostaglandin A1 and E1 as appealing prospects that bound to and triggered the Nurr1 protein. The collective group likewise produced a design illustrating the structure of these particles when they are bound to the Nurr1 protein by carrying out X-ray co-crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance research studies. This details will be crucial as treatment methods that target Nurr1 are enhanced.

The detectives revealed that physiological concentrations of prostaglandin A1 or E1 in the nanomolar varieties can secure dopamine nerve cells versus neurotoxins. Next, the detectives discovered that when mouse designs caused to establish signs comparable to Parkinson’s illness were treated with prostaglandin A1 or E1, the animals’ motor abilities and functions enhanced substantially with no indications of negative effects, such as irregular dyskinesia-like habits. Analyses of the animals’ brains exposed that the treatment secured the dopamine-producing brain cells from passing away and made them produce greater levels of dopamine.

“Although we showed that these molecules can correct Parkinson’s-like symptoms in animal models in a neuroprotective manner, further studies are essential to determine whether they can work in human clinical trials,” stated Kim.

Reference: “PGE1 and PGA1 bind to Nurr1 and activate its transcriptional function” by Sreekanth Rajan, Yongwoo Jang, Chun-Hyung Kim, Woori Kim, Hui Ting Toh, Jeha Jeon, Bin Song, Aida Serra, Julien Lescar, Jun Yeob Yoo, Serap Beldar, Hong Ye, Congbao Kang, Xue-Wei Liu, Melissa Feitosa, Yeahan Kim, Dabin Hwang, Geraldine Goh, Kah-Leong Lim, Hye Min Park, Choong Hwan Lee, Sungwhan F. Oh, Gregory A. Petsko, Ho Sup Yoon and Kwang-Soo Kim, 25 May 2020, Nature Chemical Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41589-020-0553-6

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