Japanese researchers halt Parkinson’s disease progression in mice


A Japanese team said Monday it has succeeded in curbing the progress of Parkinson’s disease in mice by injecting a protein that helps inhibit nerve cell death.

“We’ve confirmed its strong effects,” said Hideki Mochizuki, an Osaka University professor and team member. “We’ll confirm its safety in other animals so that we can proceed to clinical research with humans.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder. Its symptoms include limb tremors and muscle stiffness. The disease is said to be caused by nerve cell death in the brain resulting from damaged mitochondria in such cells.

According to an article posted on the British journal Nature Communications, the team chose a protein called necdin, which is found both in humans and animals and helps prevent nerve cell death.

In mice with Parkinson’s that did not receive a necdin injection, about 30-40 percent of their nerve cells died as the disease progressed, the article said. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the nerve cells were protected in mice injected with the protein, it added.