Mechanisms of MPTP-Induced DNA Damage: Studies in Genetically Engineered Mice

Marie-Francoise Chesselel, M.D., Ph.D.
UCLA School of Medicine, Dept. of Medicine

Collaborative efforts are frequently planned when scientists compare notes at such meetings as that of the Society of Neurosciences. One such collaboration became a grant project for Drs. Marie-Francoise Chesselet of UCLA with Columbia's Serge Przedborski and their groups. The latter had identified specific molecules thought to have a role in neurotoxin-induced cell death. Dr. Chesselet took the study a step further by using a microscopic technqiue that permits examining of cell DNA in various time frames after the toxin (MPTP) has been administered. Their ultimate goal is to identify the mechanisms in the cascade of physiologic events leading to cell dealth in the hope that specific points along that cascade could be targeted with appropriate substances (drugs) and thus break the degenerative pattern. If continuing call losses cause progressive worsening of symptoms in PD patients, preventing additional neuronal death would resonably be expected to slow disease progression.