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Mol Neurobiol. 2004 Jun;29(3):271-88.

Proteomic approach to studying Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • 1University of Washington and Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, WA. zhangj@u.washington.edu


Parkinson's disease is a common age-related neurodegenerative disease characterized pathologically by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra with resultant depletion of striatal dopamine and presence of Lewy bodies in the remaining neurons. The Lewy body contains numerous functional and structural proteins, including alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin; aggregation of alpha-synuclein is thought to be important in Lewy body formation as well as neurodegeneration, although the detailed mechanisms remain to be defined. Increasing evidence has suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction, increased oxidative stress, and dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system may be involved in alpha-synuclein aggregation, Lewy body formation, and neurodegeneration. However, how these processes are related to each other is not fully understood, given that there are Parkinsonian animal models as well as human diseases with significant nigral neurodegeneration regardless of whether Lewy bodies form or not. This review summarizes the current related research fields and proposes a proteomic approach to investigate the mechanisms that may dictate alpha-synuclein aggregation, Lewy body formation, and neurodegeneration.

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