Both genetic vulnerability and environmental exposure have been linked to the development of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD);however, the precise mechanisms by which these two factors intercept remain elusive. This proposal is designated to explore a potential link between genetic susceptibility and environmental factors - a tight coupling between microglial Mac1 and NADPH oxidase, both are membrane proteins critically involved in microglial activation which is a hallmark of neuroinflammation. The mechanisms involved in microglial activation are not understood completely. While some components of neuroinflammation can also be beneficial to neuronal survival, pro- inflammatory factors, especially reactive oxygen species (ROS), when produced in excess, are believed to cause "collateral" damage to the central nervous system. The coupling between Mac1 and NADPH oxidase enzyme appears to be one of the major sources of pro-inflammatory ROS causing neural damage. More importantly, the action of many endogenous toxins and exogenous neurotoxicants seems to converge on the activation of Mac1-NADPH oxidase pathway. Thus, this proposal will be centered on the coupling of these two proteins, with the use of various in vitro and in vivo experimental systems, to examine the detailed mechanisms by which genetic susceptibility (modeled by mutations of -synuclein gene) interact with parkinsonian toxicants via Mac1-NADPH oxidase coupling. Additionally, contribution of astroglia to microglial activation will also be explored. Finally, we will investigate novel and specific inhibitors that block Mac1 and/or NADPH oxidase, thereby providing new therapies to inhibit pro-inflammatory factors specifically while sparing neuroprotective elements of neuroinflammation, to slow down the progression of PD.
This project investigates the roles of Mac1-NADPH oxidase in a potential interplay between genetic vulnerability and environmental exposure as well as new therapies for Parkinson's disease, a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is currently without cure.
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