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Parkinson’s Disease

Publication year 2023
Published in Medical Principles and Practice
Authors Ernest K.J. Pauwels, Gerard J. Boer

In 2020, more than 9 million patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD) were reported worldwide, and studies predict that the burden of this disease will grow substantially in industrial countries. In the last decade, there has been a better understanding of this neurodegenerative disorder, clinically characterized by motor disturbances, impaired balance, coordination, memory difficulties, and behavioral changes. Various preclinical investigations and studies on human postmortem brains suggest that local oxidative stress and inflammation promote misfolding and aggregation of alpha-synuclein within Lewy bodies and cause nerve cell damage. Parallel to these investigations, the familial contribution to the disease became evident from studies on genome-wide association in which specific genetic defects were linked to neuritic alpha-synuclein pathology. As for treatment, currently available pharmacological and surgical interventions may improve the quality of life but do not stop the progress of neurodegeneration. However, numerous preclinical studies have provided insights into the pathogenesis of PD. Their results provide a solid base for clinical trials and further developments. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis, the prospects, and challenges of synolytic therapy, CRISPR, gene editing, and gene- and cell-based therapy. We also throw light on the recent observation that targeted physiotherapy may help improve the gait and other motor impairments.

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