Esther Abiona

Esther Abiona

Delaware State University

Esther's lectures

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DSU Summer Research Symposium 2021

Ameliorating the effects of an environmental toxin in a Drosophila model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Diseases (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and is characterized by a preferential loss of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. The cause of the disease remains unknown; however, it is thought that environmental factors may contribute to its development. Rotenone is a pesticide that blocks mitochondrial respiration in the Electron Transport Chain by inhibiting Complex I and has been identified as an environmental risk factor for sporadic PD. Here our goal is to develop strategies that can lead to the development of potential preventative measures against PD. Dacarbazine is a potential anti-PD drug that is known for its use in chemotherapy for skin cancer and was identified in a previous screen for neuroprotective agents against the disease. We hypothesize that Dacarbazine can relieve or reverse the effects of rotenone in Drosophila. We set up a study to analyze the effect of dacarbazine against rotenone-induced neurotoxicity using locomotion behavior as a measure of neuronal toxicity. We set up four conditions: rotenone only; rotenone combined with dacarbazine; dacarbazine only; and DMSO only as vehicle only control. Here we present our results in two paradigms: a first one in which we performed a brief chronic exposure to rotenone and/or dacarbazine for three weeks and a second paradigm in which the chemical treated flies were allowed to recover on normal food for two additional weeks. Together, these studies could help determine whether dacarbazine confers protection against rotenone-induced neurotoxicity and could inform future efforts to establish a neuroprotective strategy against sporadic PD.


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