Lorenzo Gonzalez, Tim Raabe, Ph.D., S. Colette Daubner, Ph.D.
May 15, 2013, San Antonio, TX
The Directors of USMVP awarded a Research Grant to St. Mary’s University, Department of Biological Sciences in support of their present work to expand our understanding of tyrosine hydroxylase and Parkinson’s disease. The following is taken from a Grant Proposal authored by S. Colette Daubner, PhD, St. Mary’s University:
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological disorder that results when dopaminergic cell tracks such as the substantia nigra, die, and levels of dopamine fall. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrH) is the regulatory enzyme for the biosynthesis of dopamine, converting tyrosine to L_DOPA. DOPA is then converted to dopamine, which is converted to norepinephrine and epinephrine by later enzymes in the pathway. Because DOPA can cross the blood-brain barrier and dopamine cannot, DOPA has been a treatment for Parkinson’s disease for years.
While DOPA has been a treatment for PD, it has not been assumed that inactivation of TyrH was a cause of the disease. Rather, the unexplained death of dopaminergic neurons has been thought to be the cause, and TyrH has been presumed to merely “die” with the neurons. However, of late, with a new focus on the effect of reactive active oxygen species on enzyme activity and on cell biology that leads to apoptosis, TyrH is beginning to be considered perhaps more of a factor in PD than previously. TyrH is reported to be susceptible to nitrosylation, ubiquitinylation, and association and unfolding in the presence of the PD protein α-synuclein, and we believe that it could be a central cog in the series of gears that lead to the degeneration of neurons. TyrH is reported to further oxidize DOPA after its formation, an activity that could divert DOPA from dopamine formation, and also decrease TyrH activity or its conformation. In this light, it is imperative that we learn all the biochemical mechanisms that govern the activity of TyrH to ascertain its role in PD.
February 28, 2011 - Washington. D.C.
The Parkinson's Action Network presented USMVP Directors Alan Oates, Lorenzo Gonzalez, and Steve Fiscus with SPECIAL RECOGNITION for DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE PARKINSON'S COMMUNITY IN THE FIGHT TO SECURE DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR VIETNAM VETERANS. The work done by these veterans will make available medical and compensatory benefits for more than 80,000 Vietnam Veterans with Parkinson's disease. The award was presented by Amy Comstock Rick, CEO, Parkinson's Action Network.
VA Secretary Shinseki meets USMVP
9/1/2010 - Mankato, MN
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki meets USMVP and friends. Attending the meeting were (l-r): Larry Volk, Patty Fiscus, Steve Fiscus Mike Tork, U.S. Congressman Tim Walz, Eric Shinseki, Alan Oates, Jan Oates, Becky Volk, Terri Graham, Jim Graham, Jane Tork. -USMVP-
IOM Public Session - San Antonio
June 19, 2008 San Antonio, Texas
The Directors of USMVP are grateful for an invitation from Dr. Mary Paxton, Institute of Medicine (IOM), to participate in the Public Session of the Committee to Review the Health Effects in Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides (Seventh Biannual Update). The Public Session was held at the Hyatt Regency-Riverwalk in San Antonio. Attending the session for USMVP were Alan Oates, Steve Fiscus, Lorenzo Gonzalez, and Christopher Reid, MD, PhD.
Alan Oates presented arguments and research which supports the association between exposure to service-connected herbicides and Early-Onset Parkinson's disease. Response from the IOM Committee was enthusiastic and positive.
Dr. Reid gave a presentation on his Study of USMVP Veterans showing a common causation of Parkinson's disease among these Vietnam veterans. Dr. Reid also reported the identification of a "PD latency period of 33 years" which supports an earlier finding by Lorenzo Gonzalez based on information from USMVP members.