May 18, 2024

Key Discovery Points to Possible Driver of Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia

” We think our findings about this obvious disease-driving process are crucial for developing compounds that can particularly inhibit the process of illness spread in the brain,” says research study senior author Stuart Lipton, MD, PhD, Step Family Endowed Chair, founding co-director of the Neurodegeneration New Medicines Center, and professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research.
Parkinsons disease affects roughly one million people in the United States. Its accurate trigger is unidentified, but it requires the deaths of nerve cells in a characteristic sequence through essential brain areas. The killing of one small set of dopamine-producing neurons in the midbrain cause the timeless Parkinsonian trembling and other movement problems. Harm to other brain areas results in different other disease signs including dementia in late phases of Parkinsons. A closely associated syndrome in which dementia happens early in the illness course is called Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), and impacts about 1.4 million individuals in the U.S
. In both illness, affected nerve cells contain unusual protein aggregations, known as Lewy bodies, whose primary active ingredient is a protein called alpha-synuclein. Prior research studies have actually revealed that alpha-synuclein aggregates can spread out from neuron to neuron in Parkinsons and LBD, apparently transmitting the illness process through the brain. But exactly how alpha-synuclein aggregates develop up and spread in this way has been uncertain.
One idea, uncovered by Liptons lab and others in prior research, is that the Parkinsons/ LBD illness process produces highly reactive nitrogen-containing particles including nitric oxide. In concept, these reactive nitrogen particles could disrupt crucial cellular systems, consisting of “housekeeping” systems that normally keep protein aggregates under control.
In the new study, the Scripps Research group showed the credibility of this idea by revealing that a kind of nitrogen-molecule reaction called S-nitrosylation can affect a crucial cellular protein called p62, triggering the buildup and spread of alpha-synuclein aggregates.
The p62 protein generally assists in autophagy, a waste-management system that assists cells get rid of possibly harmful protein aggregates. The researchers discovered proof that in cell and animal models of Parkinsons, p62 is S-nitrosylated at abnormally high levels in affected neurons. This alteration of p62 hinders autophagy, triggering an accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates. The buildup of aggregates, in turn, causes the secretion of the aggregates by affected neurons, and some of these aggregates are taken up by nearby nerve cells.
” The process we observed appears extremely similar to what is seen in Parkinsons and LBD brains,” states study first author Chang-Ki Oh, PhD, a personnel scientist in the Lipton lab.
The researchers also evaluated postmortem brains of LBD clients, and once again found that levels of S-nitrosylated p62 were abnormally high in afflicted brain areas– supporting the idea that this process happens in humans.
Lipton and Oh say that S-nitrosylation of proteins ends up being more likely in lots of scenarios of cellular tension, consisting of the existence of protein aggregates. Thus, this chemical adjustment of p62 could be a key consider a self-reinforcing process that not just stresses brain cells beyond their limitations, however likewise spreads out the source of stress to other brain cells.
The team is now working to develop drug-like compounds that particularly hinder the S-nitrosylation of p62. It would take years to establish such substances as possible business drugs, they could, in concept, slow the Parkinsons/ LBD illness process or prevent its more spread in the brain after it starts, Lipton says.
Reference: “S-Nitrosylation of p62 Inhibits Autophagic Flux to Promote α-Synuclein Secretion and Spread in Parkinsons Disease and Lewy Body Dementia” by Chang-ki Oh, Nima Dolatabadi, Piotr Cieplak, Maria T. Diaz-Meco, Jorge Moscat, John P. Nolan, Tomohiro Nakamura and Stuart A. Lipton, 15 February 2022, The Journal of Neuroscience.DOI: 10.1523/ JNEUROSCI.1508-21.2022.
The research study was co-authored by Chang-Ki Oh, Nima Dolatabadi, Tomohiro Nakamura, and Stuart Lipton, of Scripps Research; Piotr Cieplak, Maria Diaz-Meco and Jorge Moscat of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; and John Nolan of the Scintillon Institute in San Diego.
The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (R01 NS086890, R35 AG071734, DP1 DA041722, R01 DA048882, RF1 AG057409, R01 AG056259, R01 AG061845, R61 NS122098, RF1 NS123298), the Brain & & Behavior Research Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

A team at Scripps Research reveals information into how Parkinsons illness and Lewy body dementia spread in the brain. In neurons, the LC3 protein (green) and LAMP1 protein (red) fuse together into autolysomes (yellow) where autophagy, a cellular mechanism for clearing misfolded proteins, occurs. The prominence of green programs that autophagy has been blocked at the fusion action, enabling misfolded proteins like alpha-synucelin to instead spread throughout the brain. Credit: Scripps Research
Study demonstrates how obstructing cellular housekeeping system causes buildup and spread of irregular protein aggregates in the brain.
Parkinsons illness may be driven in part by cell stress-related biochemical occasions that disrupt a key cellular cleanup system, leading to the spread of damaging protein aggregates in the brain, according to a brand-new study from researchers at Scripps Research.
The discovery, released in The Journal of Neuroscience in February 2022, provides a clear and testable hypothesis about the progression of Parkinsons disease, and may result in treatments efficient in substantially slowing and even stopping it.

In nerve cells, the LC3 protein (green) and LAMP1 protein (red) fuse together into autolysomes (yellow) where autophagy, a cellular system for clearing misfolded proteins, occurs. The prominence of green programs that autophagy has actually been obstructed at the blend action, allowing misfolded proteins like alpha-synucelin to rather spread out throughout the brain. In both diseases, impacted neurons consist of unusual protein aggregations, known as Lewy bodies, whose primary ingredient is a protein called alpha-synuclein. Previous studies have actually shown that alpha-synuclein aggregates can spread out from nerve cell to nerve cell in Parkinsons and LBD, apparently transmitting the illness process through the brain. The p62 protein generally assists in autophagy, a waste-management system that helps cells get rid of potentially damaging protein aggregates.