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IET Syst Biol. 2012 Jun;6(3):65-72. doi: 10.1049/iet-syb.2011.0075.

Dynamic modelling of protein and oxidative metabolisms simulates the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.

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GERAD and Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada H3T 1J4.


Research into Parkinson's disease (PD) is difficult and time consuming. It is a complex condition that develops over many decades in the human brain. For such apparently intractable diseases, mathematical models can offer an additional means of investigation. As a contribution to this process, the authors have developed an ordinary differential equation model of the most important cellular processes that have been associated with PD. The model describes the following processes: (i) cellular generation and scavenging of reactive oxygen species; (ii) the possible damage and removal of the protein -synuclein and, (iii) feedback interactions between damaged α-synuclein and reactive oxygen species. Simulation results show that the Parkinsonian condition, with elevated oxidative stress and misfolded α-synuclein accumulation, can be induced in the model by known PD risk factors such as ageing, exposure to toxins and genetic defects. The significant outcome of the paper is the demonstration that it is possible to reproduce in silico the multi-factorial interactions that characterise the pathogenesis of PD. As such, the model provides a systematic explanation of the variability and heterogeneity of PD and provides the basis for computational studies of further facets of this complex multi-factorial condition. [Includes supplementary material].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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