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Dopamine in The Brain Functions As A Handbrake On Stem Cell Activity!

880737_brain_001A team of researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden have conducted a study on Salamander brain and in the process discovered an unknown function of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Salamanders belong to the frog family and are famous for their ability to regenerate entire lost body parts.

They discovered that dopamine acts as a control switch for stem cells and regulates the formation of new nerve cells or neurons in the place of damaged ones in adult brains.

According to Dr Andras Simon, the lead author of the study, the results obtained in this study can help in designing new treatment strategies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Death of dopamine producing cells in the mid-brain leads to Parkinson’s disease.

Salamanders were chosen as model animals in this study, because they have the ability to recover completely from a condition such as Parkinson’s within a month’s time unlike mammals.

As the experiment progressed and the salamanders were in the process of regenerating the killed dopamine producing neurons, researchers tried to observe what is helping the salamander brains to detect the absence of these particular neurons.

It has been an unsolved puzzle to the researchers as to what triggers the formation of new nerve cells and what stops them once the exact number of cells needed are produced.

Researchers were able to get an answer for these questions through this study.

They found out that the stem cells in the brain were activated and formed new neurons as soon as the levels of dopamine dropped indicating dopamine’s role of a control switch in this process.

When the salamanders were injected with L-dopa, a drug given to Parkinson’s patients, which gets converted to dopamine in the brain, the regeneration of dopamine producing neurons stopped and their recovery was hindered. On the other hand, if dopamine production is blocked, new nerve cells are born unnecessarily.

According to Dr Simon, one option they now have is to trigger the stem cells to produce lost neurons in Parkinson’s patients. However, before that they also need to look into the affects of L-dopa on stem cells production.

2 responses to Dopamine in The Brain Functions As A Handbrake On Stem Cell Activity!

  1. The person suffering from Parkinson’s Disease is given L-dopa drug for the formation of dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain and asked to reduce the intake of protiens, as if both taken together, protien would hinder the purpose of the drug. Whereas intake of protien and vitmin B-6 rich food would only help in producing dopamine in the brain naturally. Then why doctors recommend L-dopa and other similar drugs for the production of Dopamine and stoping the intake of natural foods which may produce dopamine naturally?

  2. l-dopa is not a drug. it’s an amino acid

    the body produces l-dopa; it converts phenylalanine to tyrosine to l-dopa

    I REPEAT, L-DOPA IS JUST AN AMINO ACID THAT THE BODY PRODUCES ON ITS OWN

    foods that contain phenylalanine, and tyrosine from nature… such as just about everything, lead to the body’s production of l-dopa.

    consumption of foods that contain l-dopa, such as mucuna pruriens(plant) also cause a raise in the body’s levels of l-dopa.

    consumption of pure l-dopa will cause a raise in the body’s levels of l-dopa.

    what is you people’s deal with the word “natural” thinking that it’s something magic and heals everything… as though doctors and researchers know nothing and you know the cure to everything.

    then just become a doctor and save the world!

    school should be easy… you already know everything.

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