Tags: antioxidant | parkinson | urate

Antioxidant Fights Parkinson’s

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 11:52 AM

High levels of the antioxidant urate – a naturally occurring component in blood -- offers significant protection against Parkinson's disease, but it appears to do more than simply combat oxidative damage from disease-causing free radicals, a new study has found.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases said the new findings on urate, published in the journal Public Library of Science One, suggest a novel mechanism may account for the antioxidant’s ability to ward off the disease.
Urate occurs naturally in human blood, researchers noted. While very high levels can lead to gout, urate might also have beneficial effects because it is a potent antioxidant.
Previous studies have suggested urate's antioxidant properties may help dampen the effects of oxidative stress, which contributes to the loss of the dopamine-producing brain cells in Parkinson's patients.
But the new study suggests the antioxidant may have other positive effects as well.
"Our experiments showed, unexpectedly, that urate's ability to protect neurons requires the presence of neighboring cells," said lead researcher Dr. Michael Schwarzschild, a neurology specialist at Harvard Medical School. "The results suggest there may be multiple ways that raising urate could help protect against… diseases like Parkinson's and further support the development of treatments designed to elevate urate in the brain."
Parkinson's causes tremors, rigidity, difficulty walking and other symptoms, due to destruction of brain cells that produce dopamine. Healthy people with elevated levels of urate may have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Schwarzschild's team found that Parkinson's patients with higher naturally occuring urate levels had slower progression of their symptoms.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Parkinson's Disease Association.

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High levels of urate, found naturally in blood, offer protection against the brain disease.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 11:52 AM
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