New molecular drivers associated with Parkinson’s disease have been discovered by the Mount Sinai group of researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine. The researchers used a special technique called multiscale gene network analysis (MGNA), developed by the researchers themselves, to identify some molecular drivers that underlie various functions of genes that are themselves involved in Parkinson’s disease.
In fact, about 80% of Parkinson’s cases cannot be linked to a known cause: while 20% can be referred to as genetic mutations, for the remaining cases, the majority, the impact of the same genes or in any case the same causes that lead to the disease are not clear.
As explained by Bin Zhang, professor of genetics and geochemical sciences of the American institute, this study not only revealed the new molecular drivers “but also clarifies the functional context of the known genes of the Parkinson’s disease risk factor.”
The analysis of the multiscale genetic network uses genetic, epigenetic, clinical, transcriptomic and pathological data in tissue analysis to identify possible links. It is an effective method to analyze those very complex mechanisms that are the basis not only of Parkinson’s but also of other neurobiological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The same method can provide “new mechanistic knowledge about Parkinson’s disease that could lead to new therapeutic opportunities,” explains Suzana Petanceska, director of the AMP-AD Target Discovery program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
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