The loss of these dopaminergic neurons affects movement and cognition, resulting in symptoms characteristic of Parkinson’s disease such as tremors, muscle stiffness, confusion, and dementia. According to the researchers, Farnesol’s ability to prevent PARs could guide the development of new interventions against Parkinson’s disease that specifically target this protein.
Farnesol prevents the loss of dopaminergic neurons
This preclinical study shows that farnesol significantly inhibits the loss of dopaminergic neurons and reverses behavioral deficiencies in mice. “This compound shows promise in preventing Parkinson’s disease,” stresses lead author Dr. Ted Dawson, director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.
In the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, a buildup of Paris protein slows production of the protective protein, PGC-1alpha, that protects brain cells from damage by reactive oxygen molecules. Without PGC-1alpha, dopaminergic neurons die, leading to the cognitive and physical changes associated with the disease.
- Farnesol protects the brain from the effects of Paris buildup: When researchers fed mice a diet supplemented with farnesol,
- Mice do better on tests to assess “Parkinson’s disease-like” symptoms.
- They have twice as many healthy dopaminergic neurons as mice unsupplemented with Frenesol;
- They had a 55% increase in the levels of the protective protein PGC-1alpha in their brains compared to untreated mice.
What is the process? Farnesol binds to PARIS, altering the shape of the protein so that it cannot interfere with the production of PGC-1alpha.
So there you have it, a natural compound, farnesol – of which synthetic versions also exist – have protective capabilities against the development of Parkinson’s disease.
However, the researchers determined that safe doses of farnesol for humans have yet to be determined and that controlled clinical trials still have to confirm the compound’s efficacy and safety.