According to INSERM, more than 8,000 people report Parkinson’s disease each year. This disease is the second neurodegenerative disease to be reported after Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is common in the elderly, but it can also affect younger people.
A team of researchers from St. John’s College, Cambridge University, led by Giuliana Fusco, recently discovered the protein responsible for this disease: alpha-synuclein. This discovery is important in better understanding this disease and, obviously, in treating patients. This disease affects 200,000 people worldwide today. So this is great news!
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease affects patients’ neurons by gradually destroying them. There may be tremors, stiffness of the limbs or slowness in movement. Researchers have therefore found that the protein alpha-synuclein plays an important role in the disease and its development.
The alpha synuclein protein
The results were published in the journal Nature Communications. They make it possible to establish the relationship between the onset of the disease and the alpha-synuclein protein. Usually we discover the protein in terms of its function, but here the opposite is true. It turned out that this protein was identified based on its presence in Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease. 3d illustration. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Kateryna Kon
In fact, it gets stuck in the plasma membranes of nerve cells, not outside. And this protein helps transmit signals to the brain when it comes to the nervous system. In Parkinson’s patients, the protein therefore forms a cluster on nerve cells and breaks them down.
Processing this protein at the source could soon lead to a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Whether as a preventive preventive measure or as a curative measure for already affected patients … In short, this is a real hope in overcoming this terrible disease that is almost destroying patients as it physically reduces them!