Drugs are the means for studying the links between the neurons and will persist to be the accepted treatment for the neurological diseases. However, a significant downside is that the drugs exhibit an impact on all kinds of neurons that further complicate the research of how the cell receptors in the space between neurons, i.e., synapse, function in an intact brain, and also how their alteration can result in clinical side-effects and benefits.
A research team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Duke University has developed a new technique known as “Drugs Acutely Restricted by Tethering” (DART) that might tackle with these limitations. This method provides the researchers a prospect of testing what happens after a drug is particularly targeted to only a single type of cell.
DART functions by genetically programming a particular type of cell to exhibit a type of GPS beacon, which is an enzyme extracted from inert bacteria. The drugs were administered in very amounts by the team in order to not influence the other cells.
Tadross and team, in a trial utilizing a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, connected the homing signal beacon to 2 sorts of neurons present in the basal ganglia. The first type, called as D1 neurons, is asserted to give a command “go,” whereas the other, called as D2 neurons, are said to do the reverse, i.e., give stop command.
With the use of DART, the team administered an AMPAR-blocking drug to only D2-neurons, only D1-neurons, or both. On concurrent delivery to both types of cell, the drug enhanced only one of the numerous elements of the motor dysfunction. It was then demonstrated that administrating the pharmaceutical to only D1/”go” neurons did nothing, whereas delivering it to the D2/”stop” neurons resulted in the movements of the mice that resembled to be normal.
The team is looking forward that how this finding can be converted into a new potential therapy by administrating pharmaceuticals to these neurons via a developing viral technique. The team is also making an effort to design a modification of DART that won’t require the genetic addition of homing beacon to function.