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Scientists Discover Brain Cells Discard Power Source in Parkinson’s Disease

Posted Oct 11 2010 5:17am

By Parky Bill at October 11, 2010 | 8:17 am | Print

Scientists Discover Brain Cells Discard Power Source in Parkinson’s Disease

Like all cells, your need energy to run.  To put it simply, that energy comes from a part of the cell known as the .  New research published last week in the journal , indicates that those of us with ‘s disease are abandoning the mitochondria in our brain cells, which makes about as much sense as trying to drive a car after ripping out the engine.

According to a write-up in the online version of Scientific American :

Mitochondria, specialized organelles found in nearly every cell of the body, use cellular respiration to generate one of the most important sources of chemical energy, a versatile nucleotide that powers everything from cell division to to transportation of large molecules across the cell membrane. Because mitochondria are so vital to a cell’s normal functions, damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria have been implicated in a wide array of diseases and disorders, such as diabetes and schizophrenia. Brain tissue is particularly susceptible to mitochondrial deficits because neurons generally have high-energy requirements.

Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah!  What you’re saying is that mitochondria are little engines in each cell that provides power to that individual cell into doing whatever it is that cell is responsible for doing.

“A deficit in complex I in the electron transport chain has been thought to be a cause of Parkinson’s for a long time, but it was never clear how generalizable this was,” Scherzer says. “What we found is that on a molecular level, the complex I deficit is probably just the tip of the iceberg of a pervasive deficit in all energy genes.”

Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah!  What you’re saying is that a specific protein needed to activate receptors in the brain cells inhibits the transfer of electrons into a brain cell’s mitochondria.  It’s like saying that some sort of glop is getting into the fuel filter in your car, keeping the gasoline from getting to the engine.  And what you’re ALSO saying is that if some sort of drug can be found to get the glop OUT of the fuel filter and fuel lines, MAYBE you could gas up the engine again, and MAYBE our little Parky brain cells might start WORKING again.

Or did I misread that?

“The most exciting result is the discovery of PGC1-alpha as potential new target of therapy for early intervention,” Scherzer says. “It’s a master switch that turns on hundreds of genes necessary to build the powerhouse machinery of the cell.” Currently there is no cure for Parkinson’s, but the disease can be managed through deep-brain stimulation surgery, physical therapy and medications that increase dopamine signaling in the brain.

Well, dandy.  Another new discovery.  Let’s hope they can make something of it while there’s still time… which will be the subject of my NEXT post.

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