This Center comprises a multi-disciplinary program of clinical and basic research designed to further elucidate etiological and pathogenetic factors, ultrastructural abnormalities as well as pharmacological and chemical properties of parkinsonism and allied disorders. The major goal is to improve our understanding of the disorders so that means for its prevention, treatment and hopefully cure can be developed. Clinical studies include further defining the protean manifestations of Parkinson's Disease and plotting its natural history with regard to effectiveness of therapy; studies of problem cases such as those unresponsive or showing progressively diminishing response to pharmacological agents, and those whose responses are complicated by "on-off" phenomenon, dyskinesia, mental abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction. Basic laboratory studies encompass a broad and comprehensive program of analysis of the structure and function of the basal ganglia including its chemoanatomy in primates; studies on glial metabolism; the vulnerability of dopamine neurons to toxins (MPTP) and the biochemical mechanisms underlying their senescence; the pharmacological properties of dopamine-responsive neurons to application of dopamine and other dopamine agonists in culture as well as in vivo in nigrotomized animals using intracellular recording techniques in culture and electrochemical monitoring in vivo; and the monitoring of dopamine response sensitivity by calcineurin using biochemical techniques. Studies of visual spatial dysfunction in Parkinsonian patients and animals will be pursued. The role of glutamic dehydrogenase in basal ganglia disorders with special reference to its diagnostic value in parkinsonism will be comprehensively explored. A number of core facilities which provide interdisciplinary collaborative efforts are maintained by this Center. These include 1) a computerized patient registry; 2) brain bank; 3) tissue culture laboratory; 4) electron microscopic and histology facility; 5) laboratory for neurotransmitters assays.
|Effective start/end date||12/1/84 → 11/30/89|
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