Mice brains showed improvement after single dose
Nanoparticles derived from a rare earth metal called cerium increased dopamine circulation and cell survival in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, according to research released November 16 at Neuroscience 2014, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
“Our research demonstrates for the first time that cerium oxide nanoparticles have the potential of slowing down, halting, or even reversing the progression of Parkinson’s disease after the disease has developed,” said Beverly Rzigalinski, PhD, of the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.
Cerium oxide nanoparticles are part of a new generation of drugs called “nanopharmaceuticals . ” These very, very small particles are 10 nanometers wide — a human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. Cerium oxide nanoparticles have been shown to scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative stress . Cerium oxide nanoparticles are also thought to protect mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses that fuel neuron activity . Both oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage are believed to occur early in the development of Parkinson’s disease.
An estimated 7 million to 10 million people are living with Parkinson’s disease worldwide, a number that is expected to double within the next couple of decades. There are currently no effective treatments for slowing, halting, or reversing the disease’s progression.
In the study released November 16, the researchers found that a single dose of cerium oxide nanoparticles was associated with a 50 percent improvement in the animals’ dopamine levels (a brain chemical that declines in Parkinson’s disease) and an 84 percent improvement in the number of healthy dopamine - producing neurons in brain areas damaged by Parkinson’s. In addition, the animals’ brains showed evidence of reduced oxidative stress. Together, these findings suggest that cerium oxide nanoparticles may offer a potential treatment for the disease.