A plant derived compound can mitigate Parkinson’s disease in a marmoset model

11 April 2013

BPRC - 1. A plant derived compound can mitigate Parkinson’s disease in a marmoset model

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nerve system, due to a progressive loss of a specific type of nerve cells (dopamine neurons) that govern the control of movement. This situation can be mimiced in marmosets, offering the opportunity to explore new treatments for this widespread disease.

To date, there is no cure available for Parkinson’s disease. Current treatments are mainly focused on improving the activity of the dopamine neurons to relieve disease symptoms, but the disease is not restrained.

The availability of a marmoset model that reflects many aspects of human Parkinson’s disease has enabled researchers to address questions regarding the onset of the disease and the activity and mode of action of compounds against Parkinson’s disease.

Dopamine neurons are extremely sensitive to damage caused by biochemical reactions in the brain. Previously, it has been shown that a plant derived compound that inhibit reactive oxygen species can counteract these chemical reactions. By orally treating marmosets with this plant phenol compound, called apocynin, we have shown that clinical sympotoms of Parkinson’s disease in these animals can be mitigated. Moreover, more dopamine neurons remained intact, suggesting that the compound could also prevent damage to the dopamine neurons and thus block progression of Parkinson’s disease.

This work was decribed in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.