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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