Drug That Reduces Brain’s Exosome Production May Be Potential Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease; PD Brain Exosomes Can Carry Misfolded Alpha-Synuclein from Diseased Cells to Healthy Neighboring Cells and Spread the Disease

People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may spend years struggling with debilitating symptoms, including loss of balance and coordination, inability to move, and difficulty speaking and swallowing. Available treatments only address the symptoms of the disease, not the underlying cause--and because patients can live with the disease for a long time, the effectiveness of current treatments wanes over time. New treatments are needed that can help stave off debilitating symptoms and help patients retain their independence longer. Now, researchers in the Drug Discovery Lab at UCLA Health have identified a new class of drugs for Parkinson’s based on studies using human cells and in mice. The compound works by reducing the transmission of damaging proteins from affected brain cells to their neighbors. The findings, published online on April 19, 2021 in Molecular Brain, introduce a possible new approach to treating Parkinson’s disease. The open-access article is titled “Pharmacological Inhibition of nSMase2 Reduces Brain Exosome Release and α-Synuclein Pathology in a Parkinson’s Disease Model.”

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