Why Parkinson's disease patients aren't walking tall

July 12, 2010

Many of the symptoms of Parkinson disease can be alleviated with drugs that target dompamine, a chemical in the brain that is involved in nerve cell communication and therefore known as a neurotransmitter. However, such drugs do not improve the gait disorders and falls that commonly affect individuals with severe and advanced forms of Parkinson disease. Understanding which nerve cells in the brain are involved in these symptoms of Parkinson disease might provide researchers with new therapeutic targets. In this context, a team of researchers, led by Chantal François and Etienne Hirsch, at Université Pierre et Marie Curie -- Paris 6, France, has now determined that the presence of gait disorders in patients with Parkinson disease and in aged monkeys with Parkinson-like disease was associated with loss of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in a region of the brain known as the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN). Consistent with this, disrupting these nerve cells induced gait and postural deficits in monkeys. The authors therefore suggest that targeting acetylcholine-producing nerve cells in the PPN might provide a way to alleviate the gait disorders and falls experienced by individuals with Parkinson disease.
-end-
TITLE: Cholinergic mesencephalic neurons are involved in gait and postural disorders in Parkinson disease

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Chantal François
Université Pierre et Marie Curie -- Paris 6, CR-ICM, UMR-S975, Paris, France.
Phone: 33.1.42.16.00.68; Fax: 33.1.45.82.88.93; E-mail: chantal.francois@upmc.fr.

Etienne C. Hirsch
Université Pierre et Marie Curie -- Paris 6, CR-ICM, UMR-S975, Paris, France.
Phone: 33.1.42.16.22.02; Fax: 33.1.44.24.36.58; E-mail: Etienne.hirsch@upmc.fr.

View this article at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/42642?key=8810b92e3074e99478bd

JCI Journals

Related Nerve Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

Nerve cells let others "listen in"
How many ''listeners'' a nerve cell has in the brain is strictly regulated.

Nerve cells with energy saving program
Thanks to a metabolic adjustment, the cells can remain functional despite damage to the mitochondria.

Why developing nerve cells can take a wrong turn
Loss of ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme leads to impediment in growth of nerve cells / Link found between cellular machineries of protein degradation and regulation of the epigenetic landscape in human embryonic stem cells

Unique fingerprint: What makes nerve cells unmistakable?
Protein variations that result from the process of alternative splicing control the identity and function of nerve cells in the brain.

Ragweed compounds could protect nerve cells from Alzheimer's
As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, many people are cursing ragweed, a primary culprit in seasonal allergies.

Fooling nerve cells into acting normal
In a new study, scientists at the University of Missouri have discovered that a neuron's own electrical signal, or voltage, can indicate whether the neuron is functioning normally.

How nerve cells control misfolded proteins
Researchers have identified a protein complex that marks misfolded proteins, stops them from interacting with other proteins in the cell and directs them towards disposal.

The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.

Research confirms nerve cells made from skin cells are a valid lab model for studying disease
Researchers from the Salk Institute, along with collaborators at Stanford University and Baylor College of Medicine, have shown that cells from mice that have been induced to grow into nerve cells using a previously published method have molecular signatures matching neurons that developed naturally in the brain.

Bees can count with just four nerve cells in their brains
Bees can solve seemingly clever counting tasks with very small numbers of nerve cells in their brains, according to researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Read More: Nerve Cells News and Nerve Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.