Targeting transcriptional regulators to regenerate midbrain dopaminergic axons in Parkinson's disease

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Hegarty, Shane V.
Sullivan, Aideen M.
O'Keeffe, Gerard W.
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Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, age-related neurodegenerative disorder that affects 1–2% of the population over the age of 65. PD is characterised by the progressive degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic (DA) neurons. This leads to disabling motor symptoms, due to the striatal DA denervation. Despite decades of research, there is still no therapy that can slow, stop or regenerate the dying midbrain DA neurons in PD. Current drug treatment regimes typically involve dopamine-replacement strategies. While these are effective in controlling the symptoms for several years, they do not attenuate the progressive neurodegeneration. There is now robust evidence that retrograde degeneration of nigrostriatal axons occurs early in PD pathogenesis, and precedes neuronal loss (Kordower et al., 2013). Therefore, a promising approach for restoring motor function in PD patients may be to develop strategies which regenerate nigrostriatal DA axons, so that they can re-establish their lost connections [Figure 1]. To address this, investigation of the potential for reactivation of the intrinsic axon growth capacity of midbrain DA neurons is needed. Information on the molecular mechanisms regulating nigrostriatal DA axonal growth and target innervation during their normal development will provide novel targets for axon regenerative therapy in PD
Parkinson’s disease , Axons , Axon regenerative therapy , Dopaminergic axons
Hegarty, S., Sullivan, A., and O'Keeffe, G. W. (2017) 'Targeting transcriptional regulators to regenerate midbrain dopaminergic axons in Parkinson's disease', Neural Regeneration Research, 12(11), pp. 1814-1815 doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.219039