Research carried out on salamanders could lead to new treatments for Parkinson's disease, scientists have predicted.
Investigators from the Karolinska Institutet looked at the brain of the salamander to study its tendency to replace missing dopamine-producing neurons.
They found that when the dopamine concentration is reduced due to the death of these neurons, the salamander's stem cells are activated and the neurons are replaced.
The effect of treating the salamanders with common Parkinson's medication L-dopa was also looked at.
"When the salamanders were treated with L-dopa, the production of new dopamine-producing neurons was almost completely inhibited and the animals were unable to recover. However, the converse also applies. If dopamine signalling is blocked, new neurons are born unnecessarily," explained study leader Dr Andras Simon.
This comes after researchers at the University of Utah found that Parkinson's disease is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer and melanoma.
The effect is thought to apply to the close and distant family of people with Parkinson's as well as the patients themselves.Find the nearest Barchester care home