disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Statistics reveal that nearly seven to
10 million people worldwide are living with†the disease. Parkinson's
disease leads to the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in
parts of the brain concerned with the control of body movements. The clumping
of a protein alpha-synuclein
in the brain, characteristic of Parkinson's
disease, is thought to be the prime cause for the devastation. Years of
research for a drug that can prevent this clumping appear to have fruited
finally; mannitol appears to prevent the aggregation of alpha-synuclein.
is a sugar alcohol produced by fungi, bacteria, and algae. It is an FDA
approved drug that is used as a diuretic to flush out excess fluids
; it is also
used during surgery as a substance that opens the blood/ brain barrier to ease
the passage of other drugs.
fruit flies (Drosophila
)†were employed to test the relevant effect of
mannitol. A 70 percent reduction in aggregates of alpha-synuclein was
found in genetically-altered flies that had been fed mannitol. The ability of
flies to climb the walls of a test tube was taken as an indicator of their
locomotive capability in the test called the "climbing assay."†
38 percent of the genetically-altered flies climbed up during the initial
experimental period. These flies were then fed mannitol for a period of 27 days
and the experiment was repeated. It was then found that 70 percent of the
mutated flies could climb up the test tube. The results were published in the†Journal of Biological Chemistry
presented at the Drosophila Conference in Washington, DC in April.
idea that this artificial sweetener could be a novel therapy for the treatment
of Parkinson's is promising, however, the time is yet to be ripe to declare its
efficacy for human use. It is not advisable for Parkinson's patients to begin
ingesting mannitol in large quantities at this point of time, warn the
R. Shaltiel-Karyo, M.
Frenkel-Pinter, E. Rockenstein, C. Patrick, M. Levy-Sakin, A. Schiller, N.
Egoz-Matia, E. Masliah, D. Segal, E. Gazit.†A
Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Disrupter Is Also a Potent -Synuclein (†-syn)
Aggregation Inhibitor: A Novel Dual Mechanism of Mannitol for The Treatment of
Parkinson Disease (PD)
of Biological Chemistry
, 2013; 288 (24): 17579.