Researchers have created a mouse model of Parkinson disease using a technique called viral-mediated RNA interference (RNAi), according to a report in the December issue of Nature Medicine.
Ralph DiLeone and colleagues used the adeno-associated virus to carry folded pieces of double-stranded RNA -- called short hairpin RNA -- into the cells in specific areas of adult mouse brains. The RNA decreased the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), an enzyme involved in producing the neurotransmitter dopamine. The resulting motor defects in the mice resembled symptoms of Parkinson disease.
The traditional genetic 'knockout' technique, which completely eliminates TH, results in mice that die within three weeks after birth. The researchers say viral-mediated RNAi could be used in other species to quickly generate disease models to identify disease-causing genes and test new therapies.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
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