Two new studies published in the May 2006 issue of Nature Genetics present evidence associating damage to DNA molecules contained in mitochondria (known as mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA) with aging and Parkinson disease.
These studies find that deletions in mtDNA accumulate with aging and are found at high levels in the dopamine producing neurons within the primary site of neurodegeneration in Parkinson disease.
In one study, Konstantin Khrapko and colleagues show that these dopamine producing neurons have high levels of deleted mtDNA in aged brains and that there is an association between mtDNA deletion and loss of mitochondrial function.
In an accompanying study, Douglas Turnbull and colleagues show that these neurons have high levels of deleted mtDNA in aged brains and brains of patients with Parkinson disease.
Konstantin Khrapko (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
Douglass Turnbull (University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle, UK)
Abstracts available online:
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza