Lund University  logoLevodopa is a drug that may be employed to treat Parkinson’s disease, which is an ailment of the nervous system with symptoms like stiffness and shaking. Although the medication seemingly helps patients with the disease, it eventually also produces grave side effects such as involuntary, jerky movements. Investigators from the Lund University have supposedly declared a way to determine what it is in the brain that causes these side effects.

Dyskinesias which are believed to be side effects of the ailment encompass jerky and unpredictable movements. Scientists predict that long-term usage of Levodopa lead to dyskinesias but the correct mechanisms involved in this remains covered. Until now scientists are probably unable to gauge an appropriate method to investigate by employing laboratory animals. However, the experts have apparently developed a means to conduct a precise inspection.

Ayse Ulusoy enlightened, “We use a harmless virus that introduces a small gene into the nerve cells. In a process involving several stages, the gene causes the nerve cells to stop producing dopamine, without destroying them.”

The nerve cells producing dopamine may die in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Simultaneously various other cells present the brain seemingly suffer alterations, making it problematic to detect the changes leading to the dyskinesias. During the present research, the scientists developed the laboratory rats’ nerve cells which generally function normal. Employing this model seems to allow scientists determine the causes of the dyskinesias.

At the duration of the research, the investigators noted a link to the ‘fibre terminals’ on the nerve cells that can release dopamine. The findings may help in presenting a more refined treatment of Parkinson’s disease in the near future.

The research is published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).