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Parkinson's Gene Fbxo7 Hurts Mitochondria

First Posted: Aug 11, 2013 10:14 PM EDT

A new study links genetic mutations found in brain cells to a key link in Parkinson's disease.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield, they examined how defects in the Parkinson's gene Fbxo7 can create problems with 'mitaphagy'-an essential process that helps our bodies rid themselves of damaged cells. 

The study looked at the process that mitophagy go through as familial forms of Parkinson's disease and one of the most common diseases of the brain. In fact, in over the last three years, two genes associated with the familial Parkinson's disease, PINK1 and Parkin, have been identified as a key role in the mitophagy.

The study looked at how the role of the mitophagy is and how mutations in Fbxo7 are linked to the disease and the two genes. The study notes, via a press release, that " in people with Parkinson's, genetic mutations cause defects in mitophagy, leading to a build-up of dysfunctional mitochondria. This is likely to explain, at least partially, the death of brain cells in Parkinson's patients with these mutations."

"These findings suggest that treatment strategies that target mitophagy might be developed to benefit patients with Parkinson's disease in the future," said one of the lead study authors Dr. Helene Plun-Favreau from the UCL Institute of Neurology. 

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More information regarding the study can be found in the journal Nature Neuroscience

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