A blueberry extract-supplemented diet rescues phenotypes in drosophila melanogaster models of parkinson disease

Lipsett, David Bruce (2012) A blueberry extract-supplemented diet rescues phenotypes in drosophila melanogaster models of parkinson disease. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Parkinson disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. As a result, affected individuals have impaired motor function typically coupled with several non-motor symptoms that arise from extra-nigral damage. Mutations in the human α-synuclein (SNCA ) gene have been linked to heritable autosomal dominant PD and duplications of its gene locus result in a more severe early onset form of the disease. Post-mortem analysis of patient brains reveals increased levels of oxidative stress biomarkers in individuals with PD. I investigated the potential therapeutic effects of a diet high in antioxidants both in a Drosophila melanogaster model of PD and on α-synuclein-induced developmental defects of the neuron-rich eye. Longevity assays, climbing trials, and biometric analyses were performed to test the effects of blueberry extract (BBE) on several α-synuclein-induced phenotypes. My results suggest that a diet findings demonstrate that BBE counteracts PD-like phenotypes in an animal model of protein toxicity and suggest that dietary antioxidants may a alleviate some of the cellular stress caused by excess α-synuclein. Diets rich in sources of antioxidants, like blueberries, could become a useful tool in treating PD and other similar neurodegenerative disorders if this relationship is conserved in humans.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10903
Item ID: 10903
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 74-82).
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Parkinson's disease--Diet therapy; Parkinson's disease--Genetic aspects; Blueberries--Therapeutic use--Effectiveness; Dietary supplements--Therapeutic use--Effectiveness.

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