Lewy bodies are abnormal accumulations of protein inside the nerve cells in the brainstem, or in the cortex, of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Alpha-synuclein protein is one of the critical proteins, that accumulate and become toxic to neurons, playing a central role in the development of Parkinson’s Disease. In the brains of many people with Parkinson’s disease, alpha synuclein has been found to be folded the wrong way, causing them to clump together and form Lewy bodies, which block the exchange of electrical signals altering the release of Dopamine and ultimately leading to cell death.
Scientists know that alpha-synuclein is necessary they are not clear what it’s exact role is or how it functions. In a study published in the Journal of Nature Communications, researchers at the University of Cambridge found calcium impacted the way alpha-synuclein binds to synaptic vesicles.1 Synaptic vesicles or neurotransmitter vesicles, store chemical messengers that carry signals between brain cells. The release of the neurotransmitter or chemical messenger, is regulated by a delicate balance of calcium and alpha-synuclein. Too much of one or the other will disrupt the normal function.
The presence of calcium changes the structure and function of alpha-synuclein; as the level of calcium rises, the delicate balance is disrupted causing alpha-synuclein to accumulate and develop clusters. This is the first time researchers have seen that calcium influences the function of alpha-synuclein.
How and why brain cells stop functioning correctly in Parkinson’s disease is still unknown and at this time, there is no FDA approved cure or disease-modifying treatment available to patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Current medications are directed at improving the patient’s symptoms and quality of life, but the results of this study provide some new clues to why and how Lewy bodies develop and may help researchers develop better disease modifying treatments in the future.
Frustration from limited treatment options has led to an increased focus on stem cell replacement therapy as an option that may provide long lasting relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica offer government approved and regulated stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to repair and regenerate neurons in the brain, reduce levels of free radicals, improve synaptic connection from damaged neurons and regulate inflammation. It is not clear how mesenchymal stem cells perform these functions, but one theory is: injected stem cells are drawn to the injured area where they release trophic factors (molecules that support cell survival) that aid in repairing damaged cells. The trophic factors can suppress the local immune system, form new blood vessels, reduce levels of free radicals, stop the damage occurring to tissue, and increase the recruitment, retention, proliferations and differentiation of stem cells.2
The team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient. Contact the professionals at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to discuss the benefits of stem cell therapy.
- Janin Lautenschläger, Amberley D. Stephens, Giuliana Fusco, Florian Ströhl, Nathan Curry, Maria Zacharopoulou, Claire H. Michel, Romain Laine, Nadezhda Nespovitaya, Marcus Fantham, Dorothea Pinotsi, Wagner Zago, Paul Fraser, Anurag Tandon, Peter St George-Hyslop, Eric Rees, Jonathan J. Phillips, Alfonso De Simone, Clemens F. Kaminski, Gabriele S. Kaminski Schierle. C-terminal calcium binding of α-synuclein modulates synaptic vesicle interaction. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 1038/s41467-018-03111-4
- Joyce et al. Mesenchymal stem cell for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. Regen Md. 2010, November: 5 (6): 933-946.