College of Arts and Sciences
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Primary Subject Area
Parkinson's disease, protein aggregation, alpha-synuclein, L-DOPA
Medical Neurobiology | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Nervous System Diseases | Neurology
Vahey, Delia, "Parkinson’s Disease: Molecular Mechanisms and Treatments" (2012). Senior Honors Theses. Paper 292.
Parkinson’s disease is a motor system disorder that is caused primarily by the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The most affected brain structure is the pars compacta of the substantia nigra. This area of the brain is essential to the control of voluntary movement, and so its impairment leads to symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and impaired balance. The neuronal protein alpha-synuclein has been shown to be heavily involved in the pathogenesis of the disease at the cellular level. The currently available treatments for PD mainly target dopamine regulation, and there been no cure developed for the disease at present. New treatments must be explored by an evaluation and synthesis of the current research and should be adjusted for each patient individually.