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Researchers discovered dopamine-stimulating proteins to treat Parkinson's

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev discovered dopamine-stimulating proteins suitable for the treatment of Parkinson's disease

neurons. Illustration: ZEISS Microscopy.
neurons. Illustration: ZEISS Microscopy.

Parkinson's disease, which affects millions of people worldwide, is characterized by the loss of dopamine-secreting cells (dopaminergic neurons) that cause devastating motor symptoms. Although there is treatment aimed at improving the severe symptoms, as of this moment - there is no cure for this disease.

An important step in Parkinson's research in recent years was the discovery that human stem cells can differentiate into dopaminergic neurons which can, among other things, be used as a model for Parkinson's disease, drug testing and cell replacement therapy. However, now the yield of dopaminergic stem cells is still low. This is due to the superficial understanding of the exact molecular mechanism that directs the embryonic development of neurons to become dopaminergic cells. This understanding could be used as a tool for the differentiation of stem cells into dopaminergic neurons.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev discovered that proteins called BMP5/7 are required for the embryonic development of dopaminergic neurons. In addition, they identified that the signaling protein SMAD1 plays an important role in this process. Interestingly, SMAD1 is required for the development of dopaminergic neurons which are found in the substantia nigra (brain nucleus responsible for movement) and are a significant factor in the degenerative process in Parkinson's disease. The discovery of SMAD1 as an important factor in the development of these neurons sheds light on the vulnerability of this subset of neurons.

The study was published last week in The Journal of Neuroscience, one of the leading neuroscience journals and was chosen for the cover story of the paper.

"It should be noted that the study presents BMP5/7 as significantly increasing the differentiation of stem cells to become dopaminergic neurons. Together, the results of our research provide critical information in order to more effectively program stem cells to become dopaminergic neurons and thus significantly increase the effectiveness of dopaminergic cell transplantation as a treatment for Parkinson's patients and even reduce the side effect after transplantation" says the researcher who led this study, Dr. Claude Brodsky (MD) from the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Zolotivsky Center for Neuroscience. Brodsky recruited researchers from Austria, Germany and New York for the benefit of this important research, which resulted from his in-depth work in understanding the mechanism of the embryonic development of the brain.

The research was funded by the Israel Research Foundation and the Israel-United States Joint Research Foundation.

2 תגובות

  1. Interesting and encouraging, you can try and inject severe Parkinson's patients with the stem cells into the nucleus in the brain responsible for movement and see if there is an improvement. Have you ever tried to check a low calorie diet and its effect on the body?

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