Dopamine Neural Survival in Mice Lacking Glutathione Peroxides

Un Jung Kang, M.D.
University of Chicago, Dept. of Neurology

Antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress are the focus of the research in progress in Dr. Un Jung Kang's laboratories at the University of Chicago. He is presently seeking to determine whether the plasticity of the brain can compensate for decreased levels of such compounds as reduced glutathione (GIII) as well as GSH peroxidase and, if so, how to therapeutically intervene to assist the diseased brain in coping. Using genetically modified mice compared with wild type mice, Dr. Kang has found that animals lacking the gene that catalyzes GSH peroxidase can survive but those without sufficient GSII cannot deal with the oxidative stress produced by the neurotoxin MPTP (comparable to the stress produced by PD in humans). His next step is to try to enhance the animals' capacities to produce GSH.