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Hyung Su Han (hxh5123)

3/17/16

The Development of Parkinsons Disease, its Clinical Features, and


Ways of Treatment.
Among the many known neuro-diseases that exists, Parkinsons disease is one of the
most commonly known throughout. Parkinsons disease is a neurological disease caused by a
deficit in the dopamine homeostasis which basically means that the human body is not being
able to get enough dopamine in the neurons which plays a major role in the functioning of
our body. Many studies have been conducted in efforts to prevent, cure, and find out the
cause of Parkinsons disease. Parkinsons disease is not a disease that is contagious or gained,
but rather comes from a defect in the neurological aspect of the body. Parkinsons disease is
mostly seen amongst elders over the age of 65 and have many risk factors that cause this
disease. Parkinsons disease is seen more in males than females, less amongst the Asian race,
and more towards those who smoke.

Pathophysiology (How Parkinsons disease is developed)


Not many pathophysiology of the Parkinsons disease is found but some of the found reasons
would be due to the loss of dopaminergic neurons or genetic mutations that disrupt the uptake
of dopamine/dopamine homeostasis.
Loss of dopaminergic neurons
As seen in Figure 1 there
is a clear difference in
the amount of
dopaminergic neurons
present within the
substantia nigra of
normal people and
patients with Parkinsons
disease. When the
clinical features start to
show it already means
about 80% of the
dopaminergic neurons
are already gone.
Figure 1.Comaprison of Substantia nigra between patients with Parkinsons disease and those who are normal. 1

Hyung Su Han (hxh5123)

3/17/16

Dopamine Homeostasis
Tyrosine hydroxylase and
amino acid decarboxylase
synthesize dopamine in the
cytoplasm. Dopaminergic
signaling at the synapse is
terminated by the reuptake
of dopamine via the
dopamine transporter.2
Thus meaning if there is a
problem with the
dopamine uptake there
would be problems with
cellular responses within
the cell. It
Figure 2. An image of how dopamine homeostasis is regulated within the neurons. 2

is known that dopamine plays a huge role in controlling neurogenic functions within the
neurons and a-Synuclein plays an extremely important role in regulating dopamine
homeostasis. a-Synuclein not only controls the transporting of dopamine but also regulates
with the amino acid decarboxylase which synthesizes dopamine. So having an over
expression or mutation within the a-Synuclein, almost definitely leads to an upset in
dopamine homeostasis which results in becoming the Parkinsons disease.
Many possible reasons to why Parkinsons disease occurs have been studied and the previous
reasons are only 2 of the many found reasons. There are also gene mutations in LRRK-2,
Parkin 2, and UCH-L1 that have been proved to be reasons that result in having the
Parkinsons disease. There are many ongoing researches to find the various causes of
Parkinsons disease and time should prove this.

Treatments

Treatments for the Parkinsons disease have been developed and improved these past few
years. Reverse genetics results in the finding of the cause of Parkinsons disease and
eventually leads to the cure. At this point a perfect cure has not been found or made but
efforts to fix the Parkinsons disease is an ongoing project for many scientists.

Medications, stem cell transplantation, and gene therapy


One of the most common treatments would be the dopaminergic therapy where Levodopa a
medication is given and it essentially coverts to the needed dopamine that was not being

Hyung Su Han (hxh5123)

3/17/16

processed. There are some side effects towards the treatment including nausea and vomiting
but it is still the most widely used treatment of now. Stem cell transplantation is done by
replacing the damaged cell that has the dopamine deficiency with a replicated stem cell that
does not have damage. This is still in its experimental stages and more development should
be met for generalization to patients. Lastly, a surgery called deep brain stimulation is
possible for Parkinsons disease. It is done by shocking or using an electrical current to
stimulate the lost functions of the neurons to make it revive and useable.

Clinical features
There are many clinical features that indicate Parkinsons disease and the three major clinical
features are bradykinesia, resting tremor, and rigidity within the muscle. Although these are
traits seen within many different diseases but when encountered by these symptoms it is good
to suspect Parkinsons disease.

Bradykinesia
Bradykinesia can be best described as slow movement which comes with many
difficulties to carry out a normal life. Bradykinesia combined with frequent tremors
makes it near impossible to function by oneself without assistance. Not being able to
eat due to slow chewing and swallowing, not being able to perform daily tasks such
as reading a newspaper, operating a computer, or even wearing clothes.
Resting tremor
As explained above briefly, a resting tremor is when there is a constant tremor
normally seen in one side of the hand. This is the most frequently and commonly
seen symptom out of the three major clinical features. As you can expect, preforming
a task with a shacking hand makes any task extremely difficult.
Rigidity
The rigidity of the muscle blocks passive movements of the joints. This makes the
knees bend giving a crooked posture. Basic movement throughout the whole body
becomes extremely hard and this is the last common clinical feature seen in
Parkinsons disease patients.

There are many more clinical features seen in Parkinsons disease patients such as depression,
cognitive impairment, dysfunctions of the nervous systems which result in gastrointestinal
problems, and postural instability.

Hyung Su Han (hxh5123)

3/17/16

Conclusion
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disease that has multiple cause and does not have a strait
cure for the disease. It is best to find the symptoms and get treatments in the early stages of
the disease. The disease causes major malfunctions towards the movement and use of the
human body which eventually makes it impossible for normal activities. There are many
ongoing researchs to find the cure and exact the cause of this disease. Modern science is the
answer to this, where time and effort will eventually find the answer.
References
1. http://www.gwc.maricopa.edu/class/bio201/parkn/jcadis51.htm.
2. http://www.tavernarakislab.gr/research/sensory_transduction_and_integration.html.
3. Biology 467 Neuro-diseases, Professor Yingwei Mao, 2015, information taught.