The use of the antioxidant urate in the treatment of Parkinson's has been supported by a new study.
Published in journal PLoS One, the findings of the study suggest that there is a novel mechanism at work in the benefits urate provides.
It was initially thought that the protection against oxidative damage was the main function of urate, but the investigation showed that the antioxidant's protective qualities rely on the presence of astrocytes.
"The results suggest there may be multiple ways that raising urate could help protect against neurodegeneration in diseases like Parkinson's and further support the development of treatments designed to elevate urate in the brain," said Michael Schwarzschild, of MGH-MIND, the study's senior author.
He suggested that the next step in the investigation is to move away from in vitro studies and look into the protective role of urate in live animal models of Parkinson's disease.
However, as excessive urate levels can cause gout, the team hope to determine if it is possible to increase levels in the brain exclusively.
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