Detrimental deletions: mitochondria, aging and Parkinson's disease

Saskia Biskup, Darren J Moore
BioEssays: News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology 2006, 28 (10): 963-7
As individuals enter their 80s, they are inevitably confronted with the problem of neuronal loss in the brain. The incidence of the common movement disorder 'mild parkinsonian signs' (MPS) is approximately 50% over the age of 85 years. It has long been known that the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta is a neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, two papers present clear evidence for a high burden of mitochondrial DNA deletions within substantia nigra neurons in aged individuals and individuals with PD, pointing towards a common pathway inevitably leading to neuronal dysfunction and death.

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