Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers claim to have increased the evidence that the compound known as farnesol, found naturally in herbs, berries and other fruits, can prevent and reverse brain damage linked to Parkinson’s disease. This evidence pertains to studies done on mice for this time.
The compound, used in flavorings and perfume-making, can prevent the loss of neurons that produce dopamine in the brains of mice by deactivating PARIS, a key protein involved in the disease’s progression. Loss of these neurons affects movement and cognition, leading to hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Farnesol’s ability to block PARIS, say the researchers, could guide development of new Parkinson’s disease interventions that specifically target this protein.
“Our experiments showed that farnesol both significantly prevented the loss of dopamine neurons and reversed behavioral deficits in mice, indicating its promise as a potential drug treatment to prevent Parkinson’s disease,” Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told hopkinsmedicine.org.
Results of the new study, published July 28, in Science Translational Medicine, detail how the researchers identified farnesol’s potential by screening a large library of drugs to find those that inhibited PARIS.
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