New graphene-based approach targeting the prion-like propagation of α-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease
The pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the neuronal accumulation of misfolded α-synuclein (ASN) aggregates in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system. A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that ASN pathology might be either triggered by exogenous assault targeting the gut and invading the brain via “prion-like” transport through the vagus nerve or start in forebrain areas and spread progressively inside the brain. Therefore PD is characterized by progressive motor and non-motor impairments. However, available therapies only treat symptoms of the disease. Since described progressive cascade of events plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PD, our project aims to target the ASN aggregation to slow or stop the advancement of the disease.
We will examine various functionalized graphene nanoparticles to select ones able to prevent the formation or disrupt existing proteinaceous inclusions of ASN and thus prevent the prion-like transcellular propagation of the pathogenic protein in the CNS and/or enteric nervous system.
The project is implemented by Poznan University of Medical Science and Dr. Piotr Chmielarz from the Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences, together with our interdisciplinary team of collaborators: Dr. Palaniappan, Dr. Sheetal Kaushik Bhardwaj, and Dr. Ajeet Kaushik from Florida Polytechnic University, and Prof Ivan Cole from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Project is financed by Narodowe Centrum Nauki.