Elucidating the Role of Paradoxical GABA Signaling in Parkinson’s Disease

2022 Seed Grant
Alexey Ostroumov, Ph.D.
Georgetown University

Parkinson’s disease is an incurable, gradually progressive neurological motor disorder that affects the ability to control and perform movements. The disease results from low levels of a neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is crucial to normal functioning of the brain’s regions that are responsible for organizing the body’s movement. Existing therapeutic strategies for managing Parkinson’s disease aim to increase dopamine levels, yet current dopaminergic treatments produce severe side effects and become less efficient with disease progression. While dopamine has been extensively studied in motor impairment, little is known about other chemical messengers that may change in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Ostroumov’s laboratory will employ a variety of state-of-the-art tools in order to explore the relationship between motor dysfunction and deficits in GABA, a main neurotransmitter in motor-related brain areas. This work will elucidate a fundamentally new role of GABA in Parkinson’s disease and explore its contribution to movement deficits. This project will advance our understanding of Parkinson’s pathology and identify new therapeutic targets for motor disorders.

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