Washington: A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has made a breakthrough discovery that could lead to new targets for Parkinson’s that may be useful in preventing the actual condition.They have pinpointed a key factor controlling damage to brain cells in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease.The team, led by TSRI neuroscientist Bruno Conti, was looking for biological pathways that could connect the immune system’s inflammatory response to the damage seen in dopaminergic neurons. After searching human genomics databases, the team’s attention was caught by a gene encoding a protein known as interleukin-13 receptor alpha 1 chain (IL-13Ra1), as it is located in the PARK12 locus, which has been linked to Parkinson’s.IL-13ra1 is a receptor chain mediating the action of interleukin 13 (IL-13) and interleukin 4 (IL-4), two cytokines investigated for their role as mediators of allergic reactions and for their anti-inflammatory action.
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