News Release

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Note to media: See abstract LBA-13

Apomorphine represents possible therapeutic target to reduce Parkinson's disease dementia

SYDNEY – A study investigating the effect of apomorphine in Parkinson’s disease (PD) subjects with and without PD dementia (PDD) was presented today at the 17th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Both α-synuclein and amyloid-β are suspected causes of PDD, a central unmet medical need in advanced PD affecting up to 80% of individuals with PD.

Dr. Alison Yarnall, Newcastle University, and colleagues aimed to determine whether ante-mortem exposure to apomorphine is associated with lower levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) in brain tissue. They reviewed case notes of donors with pathologically proven PD who had (n=36; Apo+) and had not received apomorphine (n=43; Apo-) during life for motor complications to determine presence (CI) or absence (CN) of cognitive impairment. The severity of Aβ mature/diffuse plaque load was established through several tests.

This on-going work suggests that apomorphine may have an altering amyloid-β deposition in non-demented PD cases reducing the burden of cognitive decline.

“Apomorphine is an established treatment to reduce motor fluctuations in advanced Parkinson’s Disease and is used in this indication in Europe for more than 20 years,” states Prof. Werner Poewe, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria. “This is the first observation of the treatment’s effects on amyloid burden in brain tissue from parkinsonian donors who had been clinically followed and assessed regularly during life. The findings of potentially dose-dependent effects of apomorphine on amyloid burden opens up a completely new and unexpected potential mechanism of action of apomorphine.”

This study is the first step toward developing a therapeutic target to reduce cognitive impairment in PD. Further, this will lead the way to future experimental and clinical studies.

About the 17th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders:
Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options in Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. More than 2,000 physicians and medical professionals from 70 countries will be able to view over 1,300 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About The Movement Disorder Society:
The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 4,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about The Movement Disorder Society, visit