According to findings of research carried out some research communities, misfolded alpha-synuclien and misshapen – the two proteins are behind Parkinson’s disease. These protein travel from the gut to the brain, where it develops and sticks in fatal lumps known as Lewy bodies. And, accumulation of the clumps causes death.
In a bid to address this, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have created an artificial enzyme. This enzyme prevents misfolded alpha-synuclein to spread and could drive new treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The results of the study published in the Nov 20, 2020 online edition of the journal Nano Today.
In fact, the nanosized artificial enzymes are combinations of copper and platinum called PtCu bimetallic nanoaloys, and are created by the research team for their strong antioxidant properties.
“Meanwhile, oxidative stress due to reactive oxygen species is inescapable, and it amplifies with age due to slow down in mechanistic processes such as protein degradation, said senior researcher of the study. This is indicative of importance of antioxidants, because for Parkinson’s disease, moving reactive oxygen species promotes the spread of misfolded alpha-synuclein, resulting in worse symptoms.
Artificial enzymes act to hinder movement of neurons in brain
For clinical use, when the artificial enzymes are administered into the brain, they scavenge for reactive oxygen species, gobble them up to prevent from further damage to neurons in the brain. The nanozymes copy catalase and superoxide dismutase – the two enzymes found in the human body that breaks down reactive oxygen species. The adding of nanozymes strengthens response of the human body for these two enzymes.
For the study, researchers used a method known as alpha-synuclein. The method replicates pathology, transmission, and neurodegeneration due to Lewy bodies.