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Epigenetics is the study of how non-genetic factors affect genetics. It explores the influence of lifestyle or environmental factors on the activity surrounding our DNA.
Recently researchers have been investigating epigenetics within the context of Parkinson’s, and they have discovered a “master switch” that could represent an important target for future therapeutic treatments for the condition.
The research focuses on a protein called TET2.
In today’s post, we will discuss what epigenetics means, review the new research, and consider what the implications of these new findings could be.
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Not the same. Source: AutismBlog.
Identifical twin studies have been extremely useful to our understanding of conditions like Parkinson’s (Click here to read a previous SoPD post on twins research in Parkinson’s)
But the funny thing about identical twins is that in 100% of cases they aren’t identical.
Yeah sure, they initially share exactly the same DNA, but the further they get away from that magically moment of conception, the less alike they are.
Same DNA, subtle differences. Source: National Geographic
And we’re not talking about personality or likes/dislikes here.
As biological organisms twins diverge significantly after conception and as the age through life. But if they share the same DNA – the same genetic blueprint – how are these difference possible?
The answer to this question may lie in epigenetics.
What is epigenetics?
Continue reading “A tête-à-tête about TET2”
An Advanced Glycation Endproduct (or AGE) is a protein or lipid that has become glycated.
Glycation is a haphazard process that impairs the normal functioning of molecules. It occurs as a result of exposure to high amounts of sugar. These AGEs are present at above average levels in people with diabetes and various ageing-related disorders, including neurodegenerative conditions. AGEs have been shown to trigger signalling pathways within cells that are associated with both oxidative stress and inflammation, but also cell death.
RAGE (or receptor of AGEs) is a molecule in a cell membrane that becomes activated when it interacts with various AGEs. And this interaction mediates AGE-associated toxicity issues. Recently researchers found that that neurons carrying the Parkinson’s associated LRRK2 G2019S genetic variant are more sensitive to AGEs than neurons without the genetic variant.
In today’s post we will look at what AGE and RAGE are, review the new LRRK2 research, and discuss how blocking RAGE could represent a future therapeutic approach for treating Parkinson’s.
The wonder of ageing. Source: Club-cleo
NOTE: Be warned, the reading of this post may get a bit confusing. We are going to be discussing ageing (as in the body getting old) as well as AGEing (the haphazard process processing of glycation). For better clarification, lower caps ‘age’ will refer to getting old, while capitalised ‘AGE’ will deal with that glycation process. I hope this helps.
Ageing means different things to different people.
For some people ageing means more years to add to your life and less activity. For others it means more medication and less hair. More wrinkles and less independence; more arthritis and less dignity; More candles, and less respect from that unruly younger generation; More… what’s that word I’m thinking of? (forgetfulness)… and what were we actually talking about?
Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but as the comedian/entertainer George Carlin once said “Age is a hell of a price to pay for wisdom”. I have to say though, that if I had ever met Mr Carlin, I would have suggested to him that I’m feeling rather ripped off!
George Carlin. Source: Thethornycroftdiatribe
Whether we like it or not, from the moment you are born, ageing is an inevitable part of our life. But this has not stopped some adventurous scientific souls from trying to understand the process, and even try to alter it in an attempt to help humans live longer.
Regardless of whether you agree with the idea of humans living longer than their specified use-by-date, some of this ageing-related research could have tremendous benefits for neurodegenerative conditions, like Parkinson’s.
What do we know about the biology of ageing?
Continue reading “Reduce your RAGE as you AGE”