Mice to stop Parkinson’s disease

Miquel Vila Bover


    Miquel Vila Bover


    Fundació Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron – Institut de Recerca (VHIR), Spain


    Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative pathology that is becoming more frequent due to the increase in life expectancy. However, there are no therapies that stop or slow down its evolution. In this pathology, the brain accumulates the alpha-synuclein protein, the deposits of which are related to the progressive loss of neurons that causes tremors and other motor symptoms.

    Researchers have found that there is a selective degeneration of neurons, in particular those that accumulate a dark pigment that dyes them, known as neuromelanin, similar to the one produced by the skin when it tans in the sun. The accumulation of neuromelanin above a pathological threshold compromises neural function and triggers the disease.

    However, this pigment has been ignored for research purposes, since it does not exist in the experimental animal model: the brains of mice used to study the disease did not produce this pigment, which could be a key to understanding the neurodegeneration of Parkinson’s disease.

    Recently scientists have designed laboratory mice that produce neuromelanin, just as a human brain would. The project aims to make use of these mice with the goal of finding new therapies to maintain or slow the accumulation of neuromelanin to prevent the disease.


    Modulation of age-dependent neuromelanin accumulation as a novel therapeutic strategy for Parkinson’s disease and brain aging