Research by a scientist from Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) is opening up many treatment options offering hope and solace for a large number of people suffering from neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. This in turn can help provide better treatment for several diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as autism and intellectual disabilities.
The study by Dr Yongsoo Park, considered a landmark research, highlights the impact of cholesterol on neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. The study is yet another testament to the quality of research conducted at QBRI but also an opportunity to showcase the achievements of Qatar's scientific community.
According to to an article featured on HBKU website, Dr Park's research paper, published recently in ‘Advanced Science’ and selected as a frontispiece of the journal, sheds light on the role of cholesterol in synaptic transmission and neuronal function, potentially opening up new avenues for treating these debilitating disorders.
The publication of the study in Advanced Science, one of the top journals in biophysics and bioengineering, underscores the significance of his findings. The journal is renowned for publishing cutting-edge research in biophysics and bioengineering, and its high impact factor of 17.5, as measured by Clarivate, indicates the importance of the work it publishes.
The scientific report highlights the findings of Dr Park's team that age-related cholesterol reduction in the brain is linked to reduced synaptic activity. This is the means by which neurons communicate with each other and is critical for proper neurological function. Defects in synaptic transmission resulting from cholesterol deficiency could lead to neurodegeneration, making cholesterol an essential factor in brain health.
By understanding the molecular mechanisms of how cholesterol contributes to synaptic transmission, Dr Park's team aims to explore the potential for optimising cholesterol levels in the plasma membrane to treat neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr Park's research represents a development in our understanding of the mechanisms behind these disorders. The study's findings are highly relevant, given that more than 50mn people worldwide suffer from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, with the numbers projected to increase significantly in the coming years. Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and intellectual disabilities, affect an estimated 15% of children globally, representing a significant burden on individuals, families, and societies.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Dr Said Mansour, director of HBKU's Core Labs, highlighting the importance of teamwork and cross-disciplinary collaboration in biomedical research. The collaboration further exemplifies HBKU's commitment to fostering innovation and excellence through collaborative research across various fields, leading to better outcomes for humanity.
Dr Park's work also highlights the value of research at QBRI. The institute conducts research that has a direct impact on human health, and the study's findings have the potential to be translated into clinical practice, benefiting patients who suffer from neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr Yongsoo Park