Lewy pathology in Parkinson’s disease consists of crowded organelles and lipid membranes

Journal: Nature Neuroscience

Published: 2019-06-24

DOI: 10.1038/s41593-019-0423-2

Affiliations: 12

Authors: 33

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Research Highlight

A peek inside Parkinson’s brain clumps



A study of brain tissue from people with Parkinson’s disease, the most common age-related movement disorder, has challenged long-held assumptions about what is inside abnormal brain deposits known as Lewy bodies.

Using cutting-edge imaging techniques, a team co-led by Roche scientists discovered that Lewy bodies consist mostly of membrane fragments, fat-like substances and other debris from cellular organelles — not from fibrous sheets of the protein α-synuclein, as commonly believed.

Although the researchers saw some α-synuclein mixed in among the membranous gunk of the neuronal aggregates, the findings call into question the role of this pathogenic protein in forming Lewy bodies and contributing to neurodegeneration.

A better understanding of how α-synuclein and distorted organelles contribute to Lewy body development could point to new drug targets for Parkinson’s and related diseases.

Supported content

  1. Nature Neuroscience 22, 1099–1109 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0423-2
Institutions Share
Center for Cellular Imaging and NanoAnalytics (C-CINA), UB, Switzerland 0.23
Amsterdam Neuroscience, Netherlands 0.18
Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (Roche pRED), Switzerland 0.15
Department of Biophysics (BPH), RUB, Germany 0.12
Institute of Medical Genetics and Pathology, UB, Switzerland 0.09
Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), Switzerland 0.06
Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus MC, Netherlands 0.06
F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Switzerland 0.06
Center for Biomics, Erasmus MC, Netherlands 0.03
Division of Biology and Chemistry (BIO), PSI, Switzerland 0.02