Researchers Reverse Parkinson’s Disease in Rats

A medical professional provides support to someone with mobility issuesParkinson’s disease, which produces changes in mental health while steadily robbing people of their motor skills, affects about a million adults. Every year, doctors diagnose 60,000 new cases, and the condition costs $14.4 billion every year. Because there is no cure for this devastating illness, treatment has historically focused on symptom management. But now, a group of Mexican researchers may have unlocked a key to treatment. The team, led by Jorge Aceves Ruiz, researcher emeritus at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies, was able to reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s in rats.

Could Symptoms of Parkinson’s Be Reversed?

The team of researchers who designed the study specialize in the basal ganglia, a brain region that manufactures important neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Parkinson’s is due in part to the death of cells that make dopamine, which plays an important role in mood, movement, and other central nervous system functions. Doctors routinely treat Parkinson’s by administering drugs designed to increase dopamine production in the brain, but the effects are often limited and short lived. If doctors could stimulate dopamine production, though, they might be able to slow or even reverse the effects of Parkinson’s.

Aceves Ruiz and his team used stem cells to build dopaminergic nerve cells—cells that increase dopamine production in the brain. The team found that the treatment promoted recovery and production of dopaminergic neurons, in addition to promoting improvements in the dendritic spines of striatal neurons—one of the first areas Parkinson’s disease attacks. The researchers found that, in adult rats, this process could restore the mobility Parkinson’s disease takes away.

The procedure has not yet been tested on humans. Though the research offers hope for Parkinson’s patients and their families, not all research on rats has translated effectively to human bodies and brains. Researchers have been able to repeat their study results, though, pointing to possibilities for future research on Parkinson’s disease in humans.


  1. Dollar cost of Parkinson’s underscores need for research. (2013, March 12). Retrieved from
  2. Parkinson’s disease (PD). (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Parkinson’s disease reverted at experimental stage. (2014, December 18). Retrieved from

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  • David

    December 27th, 2014 at 9:41 AM


    Sound promising and very interesting. If the researchers read this please contact me as I’d be happy to help with clinical trials. I am 33. In good shape apart from the parkinsons. I was diagnosed 5 years ago but it’s developing fast!!

    David. England.

  • zane

    December 27th, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    I too am very curious about how soon the FDA or other health care governing bodies will allow research to be tested on humans

  • Laine

    December 27th, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    So it sounds as if stem cell research is the key to so many diseases that plague all of us, but how to ensure that there is the $$ out there to do enough?

  • Kelly

    December 28th, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    I wonder why simulating dopamine is not working to the same benefit as actually getting the brain to increase that production.

  • Judd

    December 29th, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Never really understood the damage that this can do to one’s overall health until I watched my mother become wracked with this terrible disease. I tell you what, when I read things like this it gives me such hope that there could be something coming down the pipeline very soon to help those with Parkinson’s When I think about how vibrant she used to be it just breaks my heart to see her now and I know that she feels the same.

  • Don

    December 30th, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    We shall see. So many promises with no significant results. C/L and DBS have been the only significant treatments in the last 50 years!

  • Rocky H

    December 20th, 2016 at 11:42 PM

    Great Information about Parkinson’s disease. Stimulating dopamine is the only way that can cure Parkinson’s completely but sadly scientists up till now have not discovered any way to stimulate dopamine.

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