Functional changes in an immune regulating gene can prevent Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia, revealed a new study.
Research team at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, has discovered that non-inheritable Parkinson's disease may be caused by functional changes in the immune regulating gene Interferon-beta (IFNbeta). Treatment with IFNbeta-gene therapy successfully prevented neuronal death and disease effects in an experimental model of PD. The results have just been published in prestigious scientific journal Cell
The human brain consists of approximately 100 billion neurons, which coordinate activities in all parts of the body. The group of Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas has discovered that the immune gene IFNbeta plays a vital role in keeping neurons healthy.
Researchers found that IFNbeta is essential for neurons ability to recycle waste proteins. Without this, the waste proteins accumulate in disease-associated structures called Lewy bodies and with time the neurons die, explains first author Patrick Ejlerskov.
The research team found that mice missing IFNbeta developed Lewy bodies in parts of the brain, which control body movement and restoration of memory, and as a result they developed disease and clinical signs similar to patients with PD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
"Our hope is that this knowledge will enable development of more effective treatment of PD," says Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas.