Blocking the Self-Destruct Program of Dopamine Neurons through Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Nuclease Inhibition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that pathognomonically involves the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, resulting in a myriad of motor and non-motor symptoms. Given the insurmountable burden of this disease on the population and healthcare system, significant efforts have been put forth toward generating disease modifying therapies. This class of treatments characteristically alters disease course, as opposed to current strategies that focus on managing symptoms. Previous literature has implicated the cell death pathway known as parthanatos in PD progression. Inhibition of this pathway by targeting poly (ADP)-ribose polymerase 1 (PARP1) prevents neurodegeneration in a model of idiopathic PD. However, PARP1 has a vast repertoire of functions within the body, increasing the probability of side effects with the long-term treatment likely necessary for clinically significant neuroprotection. Recent work culminated in the development of a novel agent targeting the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) nuclease domain, also named parthanatos-associated apoptosis-inducing factor nuclease (PAAN). This nuclease activity specifically executes the terminal step in parthanatos. Parthanatos-associated apoptosis-inducing factor nuclease inhibitor-1 was neuroprotective in multiple preclinical mouse models of PD. This piece will focus on contextualizing this discovery, emphasizing its significance, and discussing its potential implications for parthanatos-directed treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Parkinson's disease; parthanatos; macrophage migration inhibitory factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Blocking the Self-Destruct Program of Dopamine Neurons through Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Nuclease Inhibition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this