Parkinson's Disease Case Study

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Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder; it is responsible for the loss of dompaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (Kakkar, Bae). Nearly five million people are affected worldwide and around one million are affected in the United States alone (Kakkar). The symptoms vary from motor symptoms, bradykinesia, muscular ridgity, resting tremor, and postural impairment, to non-motor, depression and anxiety (Kakkar). Early indicators of the disease are usually psychiatric and sleep disturbances and/or olfactory dysfunctions (Kakkar). Symptoms rarely appear before an individual’s 50th decade; however, certain gene mutations such as the Parkin mutation can cause early onset of Parkinson’s (Lill). Parkin is the …show more content…
The courtship assay is a valuable test to indicate the physical degeneration Drosophila will experience if mutated to have Parkinson’s. The physical deterioration can be seen as the males attempt two important aspects of courtship, tapping and wing vibration (Greenspan). Males tap females with their legs as a way to identify them (Greenspan). The pheromone cis-7-11-heptacosadiene, a pheromone highly produced by females, is the indicator which determines if the male’s potential mate is the correct gender (Greenspan). Furthermore, males vibrate their wings to display a “love song” in order to capture the attention of a potential female mate (Greenspan). Each of these tasks require proper muscle function to ensue. Therefore, my hypothesis is that male Parkin and LRRK2 mutation will be unable to perform the courtship tasks tapping and wing vibration due to the negative effects Parkinson’s disease has on motor …show more content…
It appears that the Parkin and LRRK2 mutant both experienced a significant increase in tapping during courtship. Although a decrease in motor function would not have caused this, a decrease in the sense of smell would. Hyposmia, a decrease in the ability to smell and detect odors, is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease (Cavaco). Cavaco et al. 2015 has determined that the level of olfactory dysfunction may be linked to the severity of Parkinson’s disease as it progresses. Olfactory dysfunction within the flies may be indicated by the increased amount of taps because male flies use tapping as a way to detect the pheromones on the females (Greenspan). The mutated flies may already be experiencing olfactory dysfunction requiring them to tap the female an increase number of times in order to verify that she is actually a female, even with their limited ability to smell. It is also plausible to infer that the Parkin mutant may be slightly further along in its disease progression because the average amount of taps is slightly higher than the LRRK2 mutants. This idea can also be supported by the wild type’s low average of taps. This indicates they do not need to evaluate the situation as considerably as the mutants because their sense of smell is not

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