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Chemical reaction study could aid Parkinson's treatment

Chemical reaction study could aid Parkinson's treatment
6th June 2012

New findings into the chemical interactions at play in Parkinson's Disease could transform future treatment.

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) sought to learn more about why the brain cells that produce dopamine, which is integral to neuron signalling, die during the progression of the disease.

Kagan Kerman, a chemist in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, and Ian R Brown, a neuroscientist who founded UTSC's Centre for the Neurobiology of Stress in the Department of Biological Sciences, discovered that dopamine interacts with alpha-synuclein to create an aggregate which can be toxic to neurons.

In higher pH levels, this interaction happens more often and more quickly.

"This is very fundamental," said Mr Kerman. "It gives us a new point of view of the misfolding proteins and how they are affected by dopamine."

The findings could be useful to the future development of drugs to treat the disease.

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