Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is the most common degenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. Its prevalence is estimated to be about 1% of the population older than 60 years. Its clinical cardinal features are bradykinesia, tremor, and rigidity. The pathological hallmark is the occurrence of Lewy bodies in the mesencephalon. Although originally considered to be sporadic, several families with autosomal-dominant or autosomal recessive inheritance as well as several genes causing Parkinson’s disease have been identified. These gene identifications have fueled the research and our knowledge on the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. The results have put Parkinson’s disease in line with other neurodegenerative disorders in which protein aggregates are a common hallmark of the disease.
Laboratory work concentrates on the formation, relevance and function of protein aggregates and the question of whether protein aggregates themselves are toxic or protective, on the role of oxidative stress and electrophysiological changes in Parkinson’s disease models.