- Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects more than 8.5 million people worldwide.
- Symptoms gradually worsen over time, such as tremor, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and cognitive impairment.
- Some medications can relieve symptoms and improve quality of life, but there is currently no cure.
- New research has found that hormone production during exercise reduces levels of a protein responsible for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
- The findings in mice may point to new treatments for the disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop slowly, worsen over time, and may include:
- Poor coordination and balance
- loss of sense of smell
- walking changes
- Changes in the nerves that control the facial muscles
- sleep problems
- Mood changes, including depression
There is currently no cure for this disease, despite medication, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and
“The results of this study are important because while we know that physical activity and exercise are beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease, it is currently unclear how this affects the cells and processes in the brain that contribute to symptoms of the condition. This study sheds some light on how Effect of a hormone produced during exercise on protecting vital brain cells from death in Parkinson’s disease.
– Dr. Catherine Fletcher, Director of Research Communications at Parkinson’s disease in the UK.
Studies have shown that exercise can be improve cognitive function It is beneficial for patients with Parkinson’s disease or
Because irisin is secreted in the same way in humans and mice, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston created a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease for further investigation.
First, the researchers engineered mouse brain cells to produce alpha-synuclein fibers. When this protein clumps, as is found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s, the clumps kill dopamine production.
The researchers administered irisin to these neurons in the lab and found that the alpha-synuclein fibers did not form clumps. Irisin also prevented brain cells from dying.
After the success in the lab, the researchers moved on to experiments with live mice designed to show symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
First, they injected alpha-synuclein into an area of the mouse brain called chart, which contains many dopamine-producing neurons. Two weeks later, they injected irisin into the rat’s tail vein.
After 6 months, mice that had not been injected with irisin showed muscle weakness. They had reduced grip strength and were less able to get off the pole.
Mice that received aricin had no muscle movement deficits.
The researchers found that injected irisin crossed
When the researchers analyzed brain tissue from mice, they found that clumps of alpha-synuclein were reduced by up to 80% in mice given irisin, compared to those given a placebo.
Further investigations showed that this effect was due to Particle degradation of the clusters of alpha-synuclein, which the researchers suggest was promoted by irisin.
They report: “Our demonstration that irisin reduces pathological α-syn is particularly relevant to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and related α-synucleinopathies as pathological α-syn appears to be the major pathogenetic driver of these disorders.”
“Given that irisin is a naturally produced peptide hormone that appears to have evolved to cross the blood-brain barrier, we believe it is worth continuing to evaluate irisin as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease and other forms of neurodegeneration,” said the corresponding author. Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D. From the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Although this study was done in mice, skeletal muscle tissue also secretes irisin in people during exercise. However, exercise alone may not produce sufficient amounts to produce these effects, as Dr. Fletcher noted:
“It is unclear from these results whether exercise alone will generate enough irisin to have protective effects or if using other means to boost this hormone may be a more realistic treatment option in the future.”
Thus, the finding that injected irisin can cross the blood-brain barrier to reach alpha-synuclein blocks may be key to its potential use as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers acknowledge that their findings are an early step in the search for an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease, but are optimistic about its potential.
“There is great promise that it can be developed as a disease-modifying therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s. […] It will be important for any future human therapy to determine whether irisin can halt the progression of experimental Parkinson’s after the onset of neurological symptoms and to determine the effects of irisin in other models of PD. “
While welcoming the research, Dr. Fletcher stressed the need for further studies: “The research has so far been conducted in a laboratory setting and will need further development before paving the way for a future treatment that may be able to slow or halt the condition of people with Parkinson’s disease.”
However, she added, “Anything that shows promise in protecting brain cells in Parkinson’s disease offers hope, as there are currently no treatments that can slow or stop the condition.”