Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:07

Parkinson Research: Dopamine producing Nerve Cells breeded from Skin Cells Featured

British researchers from Edinburgh under the direction of Tilo Kunath have bred iPS cells – so-called induced pluripotent stem cells - from skin cells of a female patient who suffers from a hereditary form of Parkinsons disease. From these iPS cells they developed dopamine producing nerve cells which showed characteristics of diseased brain cells.

The scientists from the University of Edinburgh have developed Parkinson neurons which could be used for the testing of active substances which could stop or reverse the disease process. From iPS cells of a patient and a healthy person the scientists bred several lines of brain cells which produce the transmitter dopamine. These types of neurons die during the development of the illness causing the symptoms of disease.

The bred Parkinson neurons produced approximately twice as much alpha-Synuclein, a small soluble protein which regulates the dopamine release in the brain. The behaviour of the cells was similar to that of diseased brain cells of a Parkinson patient. A surplus of the alpha-Synuclein protein causes the typical deposits in the cells. Cell cultures are more suitable for research of this disease than the genetically modified cells previously used.

They make it easier to search for new drugs which inhibit the production of alpha-Synuclein or prevent the damaging effects.