As crippling as its reputation has been, Parkinson’s disease (PD) slowly destroys locomotive functions and cognitive responses. It attacks the dopamine-producing nerve cells found in the central region of the brain that is responsible for bodily movement and control.
The deterioration and death of these cells result to slowness of movement, shaking, and stiffness of body parts.
It was observed that the neural cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine are highly affected by the performance of their energy powerhouses.
A recent study shows that there are, in fact, defects in the mitochondrial function in PD patients. In fact, 10 unique sets of decreased gene expression are found in the sample tissues of the diseased patients with PD that are not present in healthy individuals. It was known that the protein peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor g coactivator-1a (PGC-1a) serves as the main controller of these genes for production of energy. An experiment was successful in treating lab mice with PD by activating these proteins.
The relevance of this discovery allows for the incessant search for medications that will activate PGC-1a effectively by surpassing the barrier that restricts drugs and toxins to reach the brain.