Professor Takashi Uehara and colleagues at Okayama University have elucidated the mechanism by which nerve cells cause suicide (apsorption) by denatured proteins that act as sensors in cells by nitric oxide (NO) produced in large quantities.
It may guide the development of new treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

 NO is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and the formation of memory in the body, and an appropriate amount is constantly produced.However, when cells are loaded, a continuous excess is produced, causing protein denaturation.The resulting denatured protein is also detected in the brains of patients who have died of Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease.From this, Professor Uehara and his colleagues have pointed out the causal relationship between nitric oxide and these diseases.
 The research group investigated how NO acts on proteins with the aim of elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of Parkinson's disease and the like at the molecular level.We focused on sensors that detect denatured proteins and transmit that information to the nucleus.When a protein is denatured beyond repair, it sends information to the nucleus to detect it and cause apoptosis.However, it became clear that even if denatured proteins were not detected, the sensor responded to the oxidative action of NO, causing apoptosis.

 From this, it is expected that apoptosis will be induced by the same mechanism even with substances having an oxidizing action other than NO.In addition, the administration of drugs that suppress the oxidative effect can be expected to have the effect of protecting cells, which may become one of the new strategies in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease in the future.

Source:[Okayama University] Elucidation of the mechanism of nerve cell death caused by nitric oxide

Okayama University

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