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Tiny variations in a region of DNA referred to as “Parkin” are associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s (particularly young onset forms of the conditions). The Parkin DNA provide the instructions for making a protein that is involved with many functions inside cells.
New research indicates that as we age, Parkin protein becomes less available. In fact, by the time we turn 50 years of age, “Parkin is largely insoluble”, meaning that the majority of the protein is no longer able to do its job.
This shift appears to involve oxidation changes.
In today’s post, we will discuss what Parkin and oxidation are, how Parkin might be affected by oxidation, and how this information might be useful to treating Parkin-associated Parkinson’s.
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Me (I wish) before 27. Source: Pinterest
I don’t know about you, but 27 was my peak.
Before my 27th birthday, I could run around all over the place – acting like an idiot, with all the energy in the world. I was invincible and having lots of fun. And yes, some vices might have been involved – I would drink myself blind on a Friday night, wake up fresh the next day and do it all merrily again.
Me before 27. Source: Thefix
But then, my 27th birthday came along and I woke up the next day tired and feeling… fatigued. Weary even. And definitely with less enthusiasm than I had before I passed out the night before. My father called it a “hang-over” (which up until that time I had naively/idiotically thought I was immune to).
Me, before (left) and after 27 (right). Source: Wanna-joke
But I gradually developed this sinking feeling that it was something else.
Something more sinister.
It was as though something had changed. Something inside of me.
And I distinctly remember a moment of realisation, when I asked “Am I getting old???”
My father saw my concern and gave me sage advice (“It’s like I always say, aging ain’t for sissies“), and with that I changed my ways.
Since that moment, I have been fascinated by the biology of aging, particularly in the context of Parkinson’s (age is the main correlate with neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). So it was with great interest that I read a manuscript in November last year that had been posted on the openly-available preprint database bioRxiv.
What did the manuscript say?