Research in Patrik Brundin’s laboratory focuses on pathogenetic mechanisms and pharmacological treatment in cell and animal models of Parkinson’s disease. We also study cell replacement therapy with stem cells in attempts to repair brains in animal models of parkinsonism. The group’s mission is to understand neurodegenerative diseases and develop new therapies that are of benefit to patients and their caregivers.
Parkinson’s results from lack of the chemical dopamine due to the loss of cells in various parts of the brain. Dopamine allows for coordination of movement, and the lack of dopamine in Parkinson’s patients causes muscle tremors and rigidity, slowing of movement, and balance problems. Non-motor symptoms such as sleep and gastrointestinal problems can also occur. As the disease worsens, patients become trapped in their own bodies as they lose control of their movements and have difficulty expressing themselves due to impaired speech and loss of facial expression.