The Saint Louis University School of Medicine researchers have announced a major finding that could lead to development of better therapies for one of the most common neurological disorders, Parkinson’s disease.
Dopamine is required for smooth and coordinated function of the body’s muscles and movements. Parkinson’s disease occurs when dopamine producing nerve cells of substantia nigra region of the brain die or become impaired. The symptoms of the disease develop after more than 80% of these dopamine-producing cells die or are damaged.
The breakthrough came when the scientists found that during Parkinson’s disease development process dopamine is converted into a highly toxic chemical called DOPAL. This chemical, DOPAL, causes the clumping of alpha-synuclein protein in the brain. This triggers the death of dopamine-producing cells, ultimately leading to Parkinson’s. Read the full story here.