New research published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications identifies a potential disease mechanism in the initiation and development of Parkinson’s disease. It is known that the aggregation of the protein α-synuclein is the primary cause of this widespread disease. However, it remains unclear how a naturally occurring protein, normally restricted to red blood cells, can enter the brain, causing disease? In this study, researchers attached fluorescent labels to tag transport vesicles, containing α-synuclein, to track their movements in mice. Under conditions of inflammation, these vesicles could bypass the blood brain barrier with ease, entering the brain and triggering the cellular responses seen in Parkinson’s disease. However, whether Parkinson’s blood vessel are contagious remains to be investigated.
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