A new study provides fresh insights into a possible molecular method for reducing Lewy bodies — protein clumps found in the region of the brain that loses dopamine cells in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The research, from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Mich., is published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The dopamine-releasing cells most affected by Parkinson’s disease are located in a midbrain region known as the substantia nigra pars compacta. A hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation and progressive spread of protein clumps called Lewy bodies in this region. Lewy bodies contain several proteins, the most common one is called alpha-synuclein.

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