New York, July 20 (IANS) Researchers have discovered an interaction in neurons that contributes to Parkinson’s disease and have shown that drugs now under development may block the process.
The most common genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease — a mutant LRRK2 kinase enzyme — contributes to the formation of inclusions in neurons made up of aggregated alpha synuclein protein — resembling one of the hallmark pathologies seen in Parkinson’s disease.
The research also showed that formation of these proteins in the neurons can be prevented by using two LRRK2 kinase inhibitor drugs now being developed for clinical use.
“These data give us hope for the clinical potential of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors as effective therapies for Parkinson’s disease,” said lead researcher Laura A. Volpicelli-Daley from University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US.
The interaction between mutant LRRK2 and alpha-synuclein “may uncover new mechanisms and targets for neuroprotection,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
“These results demonstrate that alpha-synuclein inclusion formation in neurons can be blocked and that novel therapeutic compounds targeting this process by inhibiting LRRK2 kinase activity may slow progression of Parkinson’s disease-associated pathology,” the study noted.
“The LRRK2 kinase inhibitors may inhibit the spread of pathologic alpha-synuclein, not only in patients with LRRK2 mutations, but in all Parkinson’s disease patients,” Volpicelli-Daley said.