Diapocynin — a synthetic molecule derived from a naturally occurring compound (apocynin) found in a variety of plants — has been found to combat Parkinson's disease symptoms and improve motor skills in new laboratory research involving rats.
The findings, published by Medical College of Wisconsin scientists in the journal Neuroscience Letters, are preliminary, but could open the door to developing promising new treatments based on the molecule.
"These early findings are encouraging, but in this model, we still do not know how this molecule exerts neuroprotective action," said Balaraman Kalyanaraman, chairman and professor of biophysics at MCW and director of its Free Radical Research Center. "Further studies are necessary to discover the exact mode of action of the diaopocynin and other molecules with a similar structure."
The study involved a particular type of mouse genetically engineered to develop Parkinson's-like symptoms by 10 months of age. The researchers treated the mice with diapocynin starting at 12 weeks and found the molecule prevented the problems with motor coordination characteristic of the movement disorder.
They said the findings could help lead to the identification of new biomarkers that would enable early detection of Parkinson’s, and better patient care and quality of life.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
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