Researchers from the University of Manchester, the University of Leicester and institutions in Portugal, France and Germany have performed early-stage research into the structure of an enzyme (Kynurenine 3-Monooxygenase, or KMO) which has been implicated in the development of brain disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
These scientists have discovered and mapped the crystal structure of both the KMO enzyme and a compound (UPF 648) which is thought to block this enzyme’s harmful effects. The KMO enzyme and its inhibitor are likely to be good targets for the development of potential drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Unfortunately, UPF 648 is too large to pass between the blood and cerebrospinal fluid because of the blood-brain barrier, but scientists might now be able to move forwards to find equally effective alternative KMO inhibitors more suitable for future developments in therapy.
“The search is now on for related compounds that can both inhibit the enzyme and pass into the brain”.
Scientists map structure of brain disease molecule. London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, April 11th 2013.
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Amaral, M. Levy, C. [and] Heyes, DJ. [et al] (2013). Structural basis of kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibition. Nature, April 10th 2013. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 7, May 2013].