In an earlier blog post I linked to an article about the potential role of dopamine metabolism and oxidative stress in Parkinson disease. Now the research group of Jian Feng reports that the protein Parkin regulates the expression of monoamine oxidase in human dopaminergic neurons (Parkin controls dopamine utilization in human midbrain dopaminergic neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells).
As early as 2003, experiments in mice linked low levels of Parkin to increased metabolism of dopamine by monoamine oxidase (1). One of the existing treatments for Parkinson Disease is inhibition of monoamine oxidase (see: “The role of rasagiline in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease“).
Feng’s group started with skin cells from human patients with mutated Parkin genes. They made pluripotent stem cells from the skin cells and then induced the stem cells to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons for use in their studies of the role of Parkin in human neurons.
Parkinson Disease patients with defective Parkin genes might particularly benefit from treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Image source: European Iron Club.