RXR activation -- hope for new Parkinson's disease treatment

December 10, 2009

Following up on their previous work showing the rescue of dopamine neurons by chemicals that interact with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), researchers have now investigated the potential of these chemicals, known as RXR ligands, for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience the scientists describe the use of two cellular models of Parkinsonian damage to explore the neuroprotective function of the two RXR ligands LG268 and XCT.

Susanna Kjellander worked with a team of researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Sweden, to test both the ligands and a novel neuronal platform. She said, "Nuclear hormone receptors like RXR and the Nurr1-RXR receptor heterodimer are emerging as interesting factors in Parkinson's research. It is unclear exactly how neurons are damaged in Parkinson's disease, but it is suggested that oxidative damage and energy depletion in the brain are involved. By activating RXR, neurons can be rescued from this degeneration".

The researchers used two different dopaminergic cell systems as models of Parkinson's disease. First, they were able to mimic some of the conditions that may be present in people with the disease by applying a neurotoxin to primary neurons derived from the rat ventral midbrain. They found that the two RXR-activating ligands studied were able to selectively protect dopaminergic neurons from the stress induced in this model. The results were then confirmed in a novel system in which dopaminergic neurons generated from mouse embryonic stem cells were treated with the neurotoxin. They conclude, "The regulation of RXR activity holds promise to contribute to a novel, alternative strategy to treat Parkinson's disease".
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Notes to Editors:

1. Activation of Retinoid X Receptor increases dopamine cell survival in models for Parkinson's disease
Stina Friling, Maria Bergsland and Susanna Kjellander
BMC Neuroscience (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1996214970266648_article.pdf?random=935155

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcneurosci/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Neuroscience is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of the nervous system, including molecular, cellular, developmental and animal model studies, as well as cognitive and behavioral research, and computational modeling. BMC Neuroscience (ISSN 1471-2202) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, PsycINFO, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

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