Diapocynin, a synthetic molecule derived from a naturally occurring compound (apocynin), has been found to protect neurobehavioral function in mice with Parkinson's Disease symptoms by preventing deficits in motor coordination.
The findings are published in the May 28, 2013 edition of Neuroscience Letters.
Brian Dranka, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), is the first author of the paper. Balaraman Kalyanaraman, Ph.D., Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson's Research, chairman and professor of biophysics, and director of the MCW Free Radical Research Center, is the corresponding author.
In a specific type of transgenic mouse called LRRK2R1441G, the animals lose coordinated movements and develop Parkinson's-type symptoms by ten months of age. In this study, the researchers treated those mice with diapocynin starting at 12 weeks. That treatment prevented the expected deficits in motor coordination.
"These early findings are encouraging, but in this model, we still do not know how this molecule exerts neuroprotective action. Further studies are necessary to discover the exact mode of action of the diaopocynin and other molecules with a similar structure," said Dr. Kalyanaraman.
Clinicians have expressed a need for earlier disease detection in Parkinson's Disease patients; the researchers believe further study of this specific mouse model may allow them to identify new biomarkers that would enable early disease detection, and ultimately allow for better patient care and quality of life.
Other authors of the paper include Joy Joseph, Ph.D., associate professor of biophysics; Jacek Zielonka, Ph.D., research scientist; and Allison Gifford, research technologist, all of MCW; Anumantha Kanthasamy, M.S., M.Phil, Ph.D., W.E. Lloyd Endowed Chair in Neurotoxicology and chair of the biomedical sciences department and distinguished professor; and Anamitra Ghosh, research fellow; both of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. This research was funded by NIH grants NS039958 (to B.K.) and NS074443 (to A.K.), and by the Henry R. and Angeline E. Quadracci Chair Endowment (B.K.), and the Eugene and Linda Lloyd Chair Endowment (A.K.).
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The Medical College of Wisconsin is the state's only private medical school and health sciences graduate school. Founded in 1893, it is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and service. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in the Medical College's medical school and graduate school programs. A major national research center, it is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY 2010 - 11, faculty received more than $175 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes, of which more than $161 million is for research. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, College faculty direct or collaborate on more than 2,200 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,350 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 400,000 patients annually.