A cellular defect may be linked to Parkinson’s disease, as it has been seen in all forms of this progressive neurological disorder. This defect largely contributes to the die-off of a group of nerve cells – the loss of these nerve cells is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.
Senior author Dr. Xinnan Wang said, “We’ve found a molecular biomarker that characterizes not just familial cases of Parkinson’s, in which a predisposition for the disease is clearly inherited, but also the condition’s far more prevalent sporadic forms, for which the genetic contribution is either nonexistent or not yet discovered.”
The defect prevents cells from disposing of their mitochondria (cellular powerhouses) when they wear out. As a result, instead of providing energy, the worn-out mitochondria start releasing waste.
The findings could help develop more targeted treatments and better diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s disease.
The study was published in Cell Stem Cell.