Stomach hormone can slow down Parkinson`s disease

Last Updated: Friday, November 27, 2009 - 00:00

Washington: Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach, may be used to slow down onset of Parkinson`s disease, a new study reveals.

Parkinson`s disease is caused by disruption of dopamine neurons (nerve cells) in an area of the mid-brain responsible for dopamine production.

Some of the symptoms are severe difficulty in walking, restricted movements, lack of appetite, difficulty in eating, periods of remaining motionless (known as freezing) and head and limb tremors.

When dopamine cells fall sick and die, Parkinson`s can develop. Yale School of Medicine (YSM) researcher Tamas Horvath and colleagues found that ghrelin is protective of the dopamine neurons, said an YSM release.

"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, professor of comparative medicine, neurobiology and obstetrics & gynaecology at YSM.

"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."

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


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First Published: Friday, November 27, 2009 - 00:00

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