Role of DOPAL in Parkinson's Diseases!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A team of scientists has announced proof that the chemical DOPAL starts the chain reaction that causes Parkinson's disease.

The St. Louis University researchers discovered that dopamine itself actually plays a role in destroying the cells that produce it. DOPAL is one of many possible residues that remains after dopamine is depleted. It happens to be a poisonous leftover.

Since the mid 1990s researchers have been trying to understand the impact of a chemical called DOPAL (short for endogenous metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde) on people with Parkinson's disease. This is the culmination of many years of research on the subject.

"The findings provide a target for Pharmaceutical companies and other researchers to block DOPAL formation and its toxic effects," wrote lead researcher William J. Burke MD, PhD, in an email to My Parkinson's info.

Scientists have long known that a key protein called alpha-synuclein plays a role in the development of Parkinson's disease.

Alpha-synuclein is found throughout the brain—but in some people, the protein clumps together. This causes the death of the dopamine-producing cells, which in turn causes Parkinson's to develop.

In the process that leads to Parkinson's disease, dopamine is converted into the highly toxic chemical DOPAL. Using test-tube, cell-culture and animal models, the researchers found that it is DOPAL that causes alpha-synuclein protein in the brain to clump together, which in turn triggers the death of dopamine-producing cells and leads to Parkinson's.

It is likely that these claims will meet some scrutiny from the scientific community, and the theories could be revised. We may learn that not all PD cases are caused by DOPAL. However, these findings should lead to some rapid research and development into better treatments for Parkinson's disease


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