Caffeine based compounds offer hope for sufferers of Parkinson's Disease


2016-10-02 06:58

Researchers have found caffeine based compounds prevent the death of brain cells which produce dopamine.

Parkinson's Disease is a very painful disease which manifests itself as a progressive disorder of the nervous system that has negative affects on movement. Although there is not an actual cure for this disease at this time the symptoms are often improved with medications.

Caffeine based compounds prevent the death of dopamine producing brain cells

The University of Saskatchewan reports that there is promise in the fight against Parkinson's Disease with caffeine-based compounds. These caffeine based compounds prevent the death of cells which produce dopamine in the brain.

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have developed two caffeine-based chemical compounds which have been shown to offer promise in helping to prevent the horrible ravages of Parkinson’s disease. This disease attacks the nervous system. There are resulting uncontrollable shakes, stiffness of muscles, and slow movement, primarily in middle-aged and elderly people. Parkinson's Disease is caused by the loss of brain cells which are responsible for the production of dopamine. Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter which essentially allows neurons to communicate with each other.

The research team focused on a protein which is called α-synuclein (AS), which is involved in the regulation of dopamine. In people who suffer from Parkinson's Disease there is a misfolding of AS into a compact structure which is associated with the death of neurons which produce dopamine.

This new approach has had a goal of protecting dopamine-producing cells

Jeremy Lee, who is a biochemist from the U of S College of Medicine, says there is a focus on boosting the dopamine output of cells which survive with many current therapeutic compounds. However this can be effective only when there remains enough living cells to get the job done. This new approach has had a goal of protecting dopamine-producing cells via the prevention of α-synuclein from mis-folding to begin with.

This study has been published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. This research was guided by literature which shows that the stimulant caffeine has a protective effect against the ravages of Parkinson's disease. Via the use of a yeast model of Parkinson's Disease the researchers found two caffeine based compounds which prevent the death of brain cells which produce dopamine. These caffeine based compounds offer hope in the search to prevent the progression of Parkinson's Disease.