Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting approximately 1% of the population over age 50. PD is widely accepted as a multifactorial disease with both genetic and environmental contributions. Despite extensive research conducted in the area the precise etiological factors responsible remain elusive. In about 95% Parkinsonism is considered to have a sporadic component. There are currently no established curative, preventative, or disease-modifying interventions, stemming from a poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. Here lies the importance of animal models. Pharmacological insults cause Parkinsonian like phenotypes in Drosophila, thereby modelling sporadic PD. The pesticides paraquat and rotenone induced oxidative damage causing cluster specific DA neuron loss together with motor deficits. Studies in fly PD model have deciphered that signaling pathways such as phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K/Akt and target of rapamycin (TOR), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) have been defective. Further, these studies have demonstrated that fruit fly can be a potential model to screen chemical compounds for their neuroprotective efficacy.
Part of the book: Challenges in Parkinson's Disease
Drosophila melanogaster is a widely used, dynamic model organism to study various pathogenic diseases observed ubiquitously in the human population. Drosophila, at present, is extensively used to conduct preclinical studies besides its counterpart rodents. The epidemic and pandemic diseases are discussed in this review to demonstrate Drosophila melanogaster as a key model. Epidemic and pandemic diseases are still claiming more than 5 million lives every year, and these diseases were well studied in flies. Currently there is no cure for the disease like HIV; the bacterial and fungal infections usually seen in HIV/AIDS patients could be demonstrated elaborately in Drosophila melanogaster. Diseases like myocardial infractions and cancer causing viral infection are long term effects of ART (anti-retroviral therapy) that could be experimented in flies. Stable Drosophila S2 cell line, Transgenic flies, transfusion of bacteria and fungi could be implemented to study several infectious diseases and for vaccine development. The latest trends in understanding pathogenic diseases and its potential biochemical markers in flies are discussed in this review to utilize the fruit flies as a functional tool and to explore further it in drug development. The advantages and disadvantages of the fly as a model of infection are discussed along with the epidemiology and the cellular pathophysiology
Part of the book: Animal Models in Medicine and Biology