Researchers identify an early neuronal dysfunction in Parkinsonʼs that could help early diagnosis
Current therapies against Parkinsonʼs are focused on alleviating the symptoms of the disease but they do not stop its progression. Professionals think about early interventions -before the first symptoms appear- that stop neuronal loss could slow down or even stop the evolution of the disease. However, the diagnosis is based on the appearance of symptoms, that is, when 70% of the neurons are already lost. A team of the UB and IDIBELL identified early functional deficiencies -prior to the neuronal loss- in neurons derived from patients with genetic Parkinsonʼs.
The study, published in the journal npj Parkinsonʼs Disease, is led by Antonella Consiglio, researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, the Institute of Biomedicine of the UB (IBUB) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL); Àngel Raya, coordinator of the program on Regenerative Medicine at IDIBELL and ICREA researcher, and Jordi Soriano, lecturer at the Faculty of Physics and member of the Institute of Complex Systems (UBICS) of the UB.
According to the lecturer Antonella Consiglio, head of the research group at IDIBELL and ICREA Academia researcher, “these findings shed light on an early diagnosis, which enables us to make a premature intervention to stop neuronal loss, and therefore, to stop the evolution of the disease”.
In the study, carried out in collaboration with other national and international institutions, researchers used dopaminergic neurons -the most vulnerable in Parkinsonʼs- as a model, differenced from stem cells (iPSC) of healthy individuals and patients with genetic Parkinsonʼs. According to the conclusions, these dopaminergic neurons are able to mature and form functional neuronal networks in culture under control conditions and in the case of Parkinsonʼs disease.