6.5b Synapses

05/12/2013 § Leave a comment




Page 257, Parkinson’s disease


1. Explain how symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are relieved by giving the following drugs:

  • a) L-dopa: Dopa decarboxylase decarboxylates L-DOPA to become Dopamine.
  • b) selegeline, which is an inhibitor of monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B): Selegeline inhibits dopamine.
  • c) tolcapone, which is an inhibitor of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT): Tolcapone inhibits L-DOPA and a product of dopamine.
  • d) ropinirole, which is an agonist of dopamine: Instead of inhibiting dopamine, ropinirole promotes the production of dopamine.
  • e) safinamide, which inhibits reuptake of dopamine by presynaptic neurons: Safinamide inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and extends the duration of its effect.

2. Discuss how a cure for Parkinson’s disease might in the future be developed by:

  • a) stem cell therapy: Neurons that don’t function properly in Parkinson’s disease can be replaced by neurons produced through stem cell therapy. The biggest problem with this is mainly ethical in that some people question whether some stem cell procedures are ethical or not.
  • b) gene therapy: Through gene therapy, the actual DNA of an individual with Parkinson’s disease might be able to be altered in such a way that lets the individual’s neurons function again. This might mean retrieving healthier genes from other organisms, which could, again, bring up ethical issues as well as damage the DNA as a result of human error.

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