Physical exercise is a necessary good for our body. And now, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have found that these activities can also benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists have observed that a hormone, irisin, secreted into the blood during resistance or aerobic exercise, reduces levels of a disease-linked protein and stops muscle movement problems.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has so far only been conducted in mice. However, if confirmed by laboratory research and clinical trials, the research could be the first step towards an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
The leaders of the study are researchers Ted Dawson of Johns Hopkins Medicine and Bruce Spiegelman of Dana Farber.
The two scientists used a model from Ted’s research, whereby mouse brain cells are engineered to scatter tiny, thin fibers of alpha-synuclein.
This is a protein that regulates mood and movement related to the neurotransmitter dopamine. So when alpha-synuclein proteins come together, these clumps kill brain cells that produce dopamine, one of the main triggers of Parkinson’s disease.
In the lab model, the researchers found that irisin prevented alpha-synuclein buildup and associated brain cell death.
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To prove their point, Ted and Bruce injected alpha-synuclein into an area of the brain of mice that was designed to show symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Two weeks later, the researchers injected a viral vector, which increased blood levels of irisin in the mice.
The result was collected about six months later. Mice given the hormone showed no deficits in muscle movement, while those injected with a placebo showed deficits in grip strength.
Irisin reduced alpha-synuclein levels linked to Parkinson’s disease by 50% to 80%.
“If the utility of irisin materializes, we can imagine it being developed into gene therapy or recombinant proteins,” says Dawson.
Ted and Bruce say they are very optimistic about the development of irisin-based treatments.
Today, an estimated 1% of the world’s population over the age of 65 is currently living with Parkinson’s disease and affects 8 million people worldwide. In Brazil alone we have around 200,000 people diagnosed.
To date, there is no effective treatment that stops the progression of the disease and brings more quality of life to patients. This could be medicine’s great hope. Encourage us!
with information from South