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Existing drugs targeting b2-Adreno receptor show unexpected therapeutic benefit for Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday 06 September 2017

In a recent article published in Science, researchers have identified a novel gene interaction relevant for Parkinson's disease. They found that ADRB2 (b2 adreno receptor) is a regulator for a well known gene involved in Parkinson’s disease: SNCA (a-synuclein). They found that increasing ADRB2 expression led to lower expression of SNCA, which decreases Parkinson’s risk.

This discovery is especially relevant as drugs that target ADRB2 already exist for diseases such as asthma and hypertension. As part of a statistical study of 11,000 Norwegian patients using these types of drugs, the team found evidence that suggests using ADRB2 stimulating drugs have a positive effect on Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers stress that the underlying mechanism is yet unknown and requires further research. Using the Euretos Knowledge Platform, which integrates over 200 life sciences databases and literature, a direct link between ADRB2 and SNCA does indeed not exist:

Figure 1: SNCA and ADRB2 relations (source: Euretos Knowledge Platform)

Although no direct relation seems to exist, many indirect multi-omics relations exist that may explain the specific mechanism driving the interaction. When looking at gene interactions, for instance, 53 were identified using the Euretos Analytics application that interact with both genes:

Figure 2: Genes that interact with SNCA and ADRB2 (source: Euretos Analytics application)

Taking these 53 genes as a starting point, many potential pathways can be identified that may help explain the particular mechanism that is driving the interaction by analysing for all genes involved in which pathways they interact.

Figure 3: Selected potential pathways based on SNCA - ADRB2 interactome (source: Euretos Analytics application)

One of the challenges will be to efficiently analyse each of these potential explanations, one of the key added values the Euretos platform provides. Taking the wnt signalling pathway, for example, which is known to be involved in Parkinson’s disease, a network of 6 genes is identified that may explain the interaction between ADRB2 and SNCA:

Figure 4: Interacting genes from the wnt signalling pathway involving ADRB2 and SNCA (source: Euretos Analytics application)

Without doubt further research will be required to fully understand the specific mechanism driving the ADRB2 - SNCA interaction. Given the outcomes of the research published in Science it seems very worthwhile indeed to investigate this further.

Read more news articles: Euretos News

About this series - The purpose of the Euretos Research Note series is to provide a data analytics perspective on recent life sciences publications. The series focuses on two types of questions: (1) Did the available data already point in the direction of a discovery? (2) What further research angles does the available data suggest?