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Hormone Slows Parkinson’s

A hormone produced in the stomach may be used to provide resistance to, or slow, the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by a degeneration of dopamine neurons in an area of the midbrain known as the substantia nigra, which is responsible for dopamine production.

Yale researcher Tamas Horvath and colleagues found that the hormone ghrelin is protective of the dopamine neurons.

When the dopamine cells get sick and die, Parkinson’s can develop. “We also found that, in addition to its influence on appetite, ghrelin is responsible for direct activation of the brain’s dopamine cells,” said Horvath.

“Because this hormone originates from the stomach, it is circulating normally in the body, so it could easily be used to boost resistance to Parkinson’s or it could be used to slow the development of the disease.”

Horvath and colleagues conducted the study in mice that received ghrelin supplementation and in mice that were deficient in ghrelin hormone and in the ghrelin receptor. When compared to controls, mice with impaired ghrelin action in the brain had more loss of dopamine. Horvath said the results could be easily translated to human use because the ghrelin system is preserved through various species.

Ghrelin was previously associated with the release of growth hormones, appetite, learning, memory, and with the reward circuitry of the brain that regulates food cravings. Recent human studies show that body mass index, stored fat and diabetes are linked to Parkinson’s disease. Past research also shows that obesity is a risk factor for neurodegeneration in mice.

In future work, Horvath and his team will try to determine ghrelin levels in both healthy individuals and Parkinson’s patients. He will also determine whether altered ghrelin levels might be a biomarker of disease development and vulnerability.

Source: Yale University

Hormone Slows Parkinson’s

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Hormone Slows Parkinson’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/11/30/hormone-slows-parkinsons/9824.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.