Research Update on Links Between Parkinson’s and Circadian Rhythm Disruption
Mutations in two specific genes affect how nerve cells work in the brain, disrupting sleep patterns in Parkinson’s patients, a new study suggests, and recommends a way of possibly treating this disease symptom.
The research, “ER Lipid Defects in Neuropeptidergic Neurons Impair Sleep Patterns in Parkinson’s Disease,” appeared in the journal Neuron.
Parkin and Pink1 are well-studied Parkinson’s-related genes, both broadly expressed in the brain. When they don’t function as they should, specific points of excessive contact among brain cells seem evident, the study reported, including among mitochondria — tiny cell structures that produce energy, working as the cell’s power plant.
Patients with mutations in either parkin or pink1 are known to have disturbed circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
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