Parkinson’s disease is a largely idiopathic neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system, leading to loss of dopamine-secreting brain cells.

A reduction in plasmalogens has been demonstrated in Parkinson's disease patients (1,2). Plasmalogens are critical components of the cell membrane of brain cells, playing an essential role in vesicular fusion required for the release of dopamine from presynaptic neurons.

The most effective symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease is the drug L-DOPA (Levodopa), used to increase dopamine levels. Despite its widespread use, the majority of patients develop involuntary muscle movements called dyskinesias after 5-10 years of treatment.

In collaboration with leading researchers at Laval University, Canada, we showed that plasmalogen restoration was neuroprotective in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease. Pre-treatment with our plasmalogen replacement therapy prevented the onset of the parkinsonian phenotype (3). Treatment after the onset of Parkinson’s disease in animals demonstrated the ability of our plasmalogen replacement therapy to restore plasmalogen levels and neurotransmitter levels to control levels (3).

In addition to its utility in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, our plasmalogen replacement therapy reduced dyskinesias in an animal model of L-DOPA induced dyskinesias (4), and represents a novel pharmacological treatment for prolonging the therapeutic window of L-DOPA.

We are currently completing preclinical requirements for the plasmalogen replacement therapy while ramping up synthesis in preparation for an FDA IND submission and Phase I study.


Publications

1.Plasmalogens as a marker of elevated systemic oxidative stress in Parkinson’s Disease. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (2009) 47,894-897
2.Severe alterations in lipid composition of frontal cortex lipid rafts from Parkinson’s disease and incidental Parkinson’s disease Molecular Medicine (2011) 17.1107-1118.
3.Plasmalogen augmentation reverses striatal dopamine loss in MPTP mice. (2016) PloS ONE 11, e0151020
4.Plasmalogen precursor analog treatment reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesias in parkinsonian monkeys. Behavioural Brain Research 286 (2015) 328-337.