The study of the relationship between genetics, aging and Parkinson’s

The continuum between healthy aging and idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, interpreted in a perspective of inflammation and damage propagation: search for new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets, as a first step towards the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting approximately 4% of people over 80 years of age. Advanced age is one of the main risk factors for the development of PD. Despite this evidence, the relationship between the normal cellular / molecular alterations that accompany healthy physiological aging and the alterations that instead characterize this disease is not clear to date. Physiological aging and PD share, in fact, some important characteristics. In particular, many elderly people, even if healthy, experience a progressive decline in motor skills.

For this purpose, the cohorts that PROPAG-AGEING analyzed include both patients with PD and long-lived or “”ultra-long-lived”” subjects, who have undergone a healthy aging process, avoiding or post-placing the main age-associated pathologies (eg see next paragraph). Starting from these theoretical bases, the PROPAG-AGEING project set out to
– enhance the recent evidence that both physiological aging and neurodegenerative diseases are propagating phenomena, through omic measurements of the intestinal microbiota and circulating biological fluids;
– identify the combination of molecular, cellular and signaling pathways alterations that mark the transition between physiological aging and PD.
The expected outcome was to identify markers for early detection of PD (before motor symptoms occur) using whole blood or other accessible body fluids.

Other partners involved in the project:
  • Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (AUSL-ISNB)
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University Medical Center of Goettingen (UMG-GOE)
  • Servicio Andaluz de Salud (SAS)
  • Personal Genomics s.r.l. (PG)
  • University of Cambridge (UCAM)
  • Consorzio Interuniversitario Risonanze Magnetiche di Metallo Proteine (CIRMMP)
  • Karolinska Institutet (KI)
  • Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna (UNIBO)

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