July 2, 2011

T-Ing Up A New Target For Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

Parkinson disease (PD) affects 1-2% of the population over the age of 65 years. It results from loss or loss of function of nerve cells in the brain that coordinate movement. As a result, the hallmark symptoms of PD are trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination. There is no cure for PD, but symptoms can be alleviated with a variety of drugs. A team of researchers, led by Chung-Chin Kuo, at National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taiwan, has now shown that pharmacological blockade of T-type calcium channels reduces deficiencies in the ability to move normally in a rat model of PD. This, and other observations, leads them to suggest that targeting T-type calcium channels could provide a new approach to treating individuals with PD.


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