A couple of interesting Parkinson’s breakthroughs

Published April 27, 2020

Parkinson’s dis­ease might orig­i­nate in the gut (say Swedish and North Carolinian researchers), but it’s not — for once — about gut bac­te­ria. Instead, it’s neu­rons in the gut that have a connection.

Parkinson’s is about dopamine — it results “from the loss of dopamine-pro­duc­ing cells in a spe­cif­ic region of the brain.” So of course dopamin­er­gic neu­rons* were involved. But…

“More sur­pris­ing­ly, we found that enteric neu­rons also seem to play an impor­tant role in the dis­or­der, sup­port­ing the hypoth­e­sis that Parkinson’s dis­ease starts in the gut.”

The same study also found that the first brain cells to be affect­ed weren’t neu­rons, but oligo­den­dro­cytes — which are more like sup­port cells for the ner­vous sys­tem. “This makes them an attrac­tive tar­get for ther­a­peu­tic interventions.”

* If you have a few hours you can spend it classifying types of neurons. There are a lot.
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