Leicester researchers discover potential defence against Huntington's disease

Posted by egg3 at Aug 30, 2013 10:19 AM |
University of Leicester experts discover glutathione peroxidase activity improves symptoms in models of the neurodegenerative disorder

Leicester geneticists have discovered a potential defence against Huntington’s disease – a fatal neurodegenerative disorder which currently has no cure. The researchers identified that glutathione peroxidase activity – a key antioxidant in cells – protects against symptoms of the disease.

They hope that the enzyme activity – whose protective ability was initially observed in model organisms such as yeast - can be further developed and eventually used to treat people with the genetically-inherited disease.

The team used model systems, such as baker’s yeast, fruit flies, and cultured mammalian cells to help uncover potential mechanisms underlying disease at the cellular level.

The disease affects around 12 people per 100,000.

Dr Flaviano Giorgini, Reader in Neurogenetics of the University’s Department of Genetics and senior author of the paper, said they are taking advantage of genetic approaches in simple model organisms in order to better understand Huntington’s disease, with the aim of uncovering novel ways to treat this devastating disorder.

Watch a video on Dr Flaviano Giorgini's current work:

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