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Parkinson's protein 'linked to fat regulation'

Parkinson's protein 'linked to fat regulation'
26th August 2011

A protein linked to Parkinson's disease could regulate fat metabolism, scientists have said, giving them an insight into the workings of the neurodegenerative condition.

The study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that protein Parkin regulates how cells in the body intake and process dietary fats.

This research showed that defective Parkin could indirectly contribute to the development of some cases of early-onset Parkinson's by changing the amount and types of fat in the body.

Study leader Michael Sack noted that the brain cells destroyed during the disease are found in the substantia nigra, which controls movement.

"These neurons require good support in the form of their fat and cholesterol membrane. If the right types of fat aren't available, then cell integrity will be sub-par and they could be prone to damage," he explained.

This follows research at Tel Aviv University which found that cells gathered from inside the mouth could be manipulated into stem cells which may be able to treat Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative conditions.

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