Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, triggered by the death of dopamine neurons in the brain region known as the substantia nigra. Whilst the mechanisms underlying dopamine cell loss in PD, it is clear that males are more susceptible to PD than females.
We have identified that the Y-chromosome gene, SRY, directs a novel genetic mechanism of dopamine cell death in males (Czech et al., 2014). Understanding when and how SRY increases the vulnerability of male dopamine neurons to injury will help explain why males are more susceptible to the PD and to identify SRY as a novel target for neuroprotective therapy in male PD patients.
Approaches include neurosurgery, behavioural neuroscience, neuroanatomy and cellular and molecular biology.
Czech DP*, Lee J*, Correia J, Loke H, Möller E, Harley VR (2014) Transient neuroprotection by SRY up-regulation in dopamine cells following injury in males. Endocrinology. Apr 7 [Epub] PMID: 24708242 (joint first author)
Dewing, P., Chiang, C.W.K., Sinchak, K., Sim, H., Fernagut, P.-O., Kelly, S., Chesselet, M.-F., Micevych, P.E., Albrecht, K.H., Harley, V.R. and Vilain, E. (2006) Direct regulation of adult brain function by the male-specific factor SRY. Current Biology 16: 415-420