GM mice get Parkinson's disease
Researchers have created a GM mouse that develops?Parkinson's disease. This mouse will allow them to study?progression of the disease and test new treatments without?extensive use of monkeys.
Parkinson's disease is caused by a mutation on chromosome?12. There are a number of different mutations known to cause?the disease, however the team looked at just one - LRRK2.?Because the genes responsible for causing Parkinson's are very?long, traditional genetic techniques are unsuitable. So the?researchers used a technique called BAC (bacterial artificial?chromosome) which uses sections of bacterial DNA to introduce?the gene into the mouse DNA.
The mice produced using this technique showed all the signs of?Parkinson's seen in humans. This includes slowed movement?and brain cell degeneration. At 10-12 months the transgenic?mice were largely immobile with severe defects in their muscle?function. However, treatment with levodopa (used to treat?Parkinson's in humans) reversed these defects.
This suggests that LRRK2 is being expressed in the mice in the?same way as in humans, so the mice offer the first model of?Parkinson's disease based on a known genetic mutation,?replicating features of the human disease.
Please see our page on?Parkinson's disease?which includes?video content.
We also have a page on?transgenic and GM mice.