An enzyme closely associated with genetic forms of Parkinson's disease appears to play a larger role in its progression than previously thought, say investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"We found that this offered very good protection from over-expression of a protein -- alpha synuclein -- that is linked to Parkinson's disease," said Andrew West, PhD, lead author on the paper and the John A. and Ruth R. Jurenko Endowed Professor in Neurology at UAB.
The genetic model used in the UAB study more closely mimics Parkinson's disease than do other, more frequently used models, which suggests that inhibiting LRRK2 in humans could help more than those with the less-common genetic forms.
"The pool of Parkinson's patients who might benefit from LRRK2 drugs may be bigger than we originally thought," West said.
An enzyme closely associated with genetic forms of Parkinson’s disease appears to play a larger role in its progression than previously thought, say investigators. The new research offers encouraging evidence that drugs to block this enzyme, known as leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 or LRRK2, could slow — or even prevent — Parkinson’s from developing.