Researchers at the University at Buffalo have identified a novel agent that can protect neurons involved in Parkinson's disease from being destroyed by the pesticide rotenone.
The agent, called L-AP4, activates a critical group of receptors called Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The trial found that activation of Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors by drugs such as L-AP4 triggers a chain of events that leads to microtubule stabilization. This cascade, called the MAP kinase pathway, activates several enzymes that regulate the stability of microtubules.
Additional long-term studies have shown that environmental toxins play a critical role in the development of Parkinson's disease, and it has been shown recently in research with rats that administering rotenone, a naturally occurring substance widely used as a pesticide, destroys dopamine-producing neurons and causes symptoms of Parkinson's disease in this animal model.