Outeiro TF, Heutink P, Bezard E, Cenci AM
Mov Disord. 2020 Nov 16.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is primarily known as a movement disorder because of typical clinical manifestations associated with the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. However, it is now widely recognized that PD is a much more complex condition, with multiple and severe nonmotor features implicating additional brain areas and organs in the disease process. Pathologically, typical forms of PD are characterized by the accumulation of alpha-synuclein-rich protein inclusions known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, although other types of protein inclusions are also often present in the brain. Familial forms of PD have provided a wealth of information about molecular pathways leading to neurodegeneration, but only to add to the complexity of the problem and uncover new knowledge gaps. Therefore, modeling PD in the laboratory has become increasingly challenging. Here, we discuss knowledge gaps and challenges in the use of laboratory models for the study of a disease that is clinically heterogeneous and multifactorial. We propose that the combined use of patient-derived cells and animal models, along with current technological tools, will not only expand our molecular and pathophysiological understanding of PD, but also assist in the identification of therapeutic strategies targeting relevant pathogenic pathways. (c) 2020 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.