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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 14:14 EDT

Researchers Visualize The Development Of Parkinson’s Cells

January 31, 2012

In the US alone, at least 500,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to control his or her movement. New technology from the University of Bonn in Germany lets researchers observe the development of the brain cells responsible for the disease.

Up until now, research into the brain cells responsible for Parkinson’s disease has focused on the function and degeneration of these neurons in the adult and aging brain. The new tissue slicing method, which will be published in the world’s only peer-reviewed science video journal, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), allows scientists to observe the development of these brain cells for the first time.

“Little is known about the behavior of these neurons during their differentiation and migration phase,” said article author Dr. Sandra Blaess, “and with this technique, we can really observe how these cells behave during development.”

The new technique also makes the cells available for genetic manipulation, and more information about how these cells develop and function could lead to new treatment options.

“Being able to visualize cell development in this area of the brain is exciting,” said JoVE Editor Dr. Claire Standen. “The availability of this technique could help scientists understand diseases of the dopaminergic system- such as Parkinson’s.”

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