Dopamine May Sustain Toxic Protein

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Science  09 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5545, pp. 1257-1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5545.1257a

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The symptoms of Parkinson's disease are rooted in the death of neurons that churn out the chemical messenger dopamine, but precisely what kills these brain cells has long stumped researchers. Now a provocative test tube study, reported on page 1346, suggests that a surprising culprit--dopamine itself--may assist in the neurodegeneration that defines the disease. Parkinson's researchers say the findings are intriguing and worthy of follow-up experiments but caution that they must be confirmed in cell cultures and laboratory animals.