Parkinsons-mitochondria

Parkinsons-mitochondria

In the past researchers have observed an association between poor mitochondrial function and Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs speech and motor functions and affects five million people worldwide. A new meta-analysis suggests that low expression levels of 10 related gene sets responsible for mitochondrial machinery play an important role in this disorder—all previously unlinked to Parkinson’s. The study, published online today in Science Translational Medicine, further points to a master switch for these gene sets as a potential target of future therapies.

 

Mitochondria, specialized organelles found in nearly every cell of the body, use cellular respiration to generate one of the most important sources of chemical energy—adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a versatile nucleotide that powers everything from cell division to cell signaling to transportation of large molecules across the cell membrane. Because mitochondria are so vital to a cell’s normal functions, damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria have been implicated in a wide array of diseases and disorders, such as diabetes and schizophrenia. Brain tissue is particularly susceptible to mitochondrial deficits because neurons generally have high-energy requirements.

Advertisements