More on Parkinson's Disease as Autophagy Failure

You might recall a comparatively recent synthesis of Parkinson's research into a complete view of how the condition kills vital neurons. Here's more along those lines: alpha-synuclein (ASYN) "is an abundant neuronal protein closely linked to Parkinson's Disease (PD) pathogenesis ... The mechanisms through which [ASYN] leads to neuronal death in Parkinson's disease (PD) are uncertain. In isolated liver lysosomes, mutant ASYNs impair Chaperone Mediated Autophagy (CMA), a targeted lysosomal degradation pathway; however, whether this occurs in a cellular context, and whether it mediates ASYN toxicity, is unknown." The authors go on to show that yes, alpha-synuclein does disrupt autophagy - which means that cells will eventually die due to accumulating waste they cannot remove. This is, in effect, an unfortunate and very localized acceleration of one of the known causes of aging: a build-up of unwanted biochemical detritus inside our cells. Whatever the outcome for Parkinson's disease, we would all benefit from therapies capable of removing biochemical junk that our cells cannot deal with themselves.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005515

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