You are probably familiar with the culprit of Alzheimer’s Disease, amyloid beta, formed by sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (a transmembrane glycoprotein) by beta and gamma secretases. The subsequent formation of beta plaques is believed to be key to AD pathology. Interestingly enough, Parkinson’s Disease is based on a similar pathological mechanism. Recently, Virginia M-Y Lee and Kevin C. Luk, researchers at the Center for Degenerative Disease Research at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, discovered that injection of misfolded, fibrillar alpha-Synuclein (alpha-Syn) into mice without PD caused marked neurodegeneration via alpha-Syn clumps and midbrain dopamine producing neuronal demise. Mice injected with misfolded alpha-Syn also demonstrated deterioration of motor skills like grip strength and balance. While alph-Syn was known to be significantly associated with onset of PD, a causal effect had yet to be confirmed, until now. For the full story, click here

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