Doparminergic neurons are nervous cells present in the midbrain, an area controlling important functions such as movement. These cells are the main source of the neurotransmitter dopamine and their death causes the development of the neurodegenerative disease known as Parkinson’s.
Spyridon Theofilopoulos, Karolinska Institute, Sweeden, and colleagues identified a molecule able to counteract this pathological phenomenon. The researchers demonstrated that, in mice, the oxidized cholesterol derivative 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol (pictured) selectively regulates the production of dopaminergic neurons by activating the liver X receptor, a nuclear hormone receptor.
Thus, 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol may constitute a promising therapeutic strategy to stimulate neurogenesis and cure neurodegenerative diseases.
- Brain endogenous liver X receptor ligands selectively promote midbrain neurogenesis,
S. Theofilopoulos, Y. Wang, S. S. Kitambi, P. Sacchetti, K. M. Sousa, K. Bodin, J. Kirk, C. Saltó, M. Gustafsson, E. M. Toledo, K. Karu, J. A. Gustafsson, K. R. Steffensen, P. Ernfors, J. Sjövall, W. J. Griffiths, E. Arenas,
Nature Chem. Biol. 2013.