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Using rotenone, negative geotaxis, and brain dissections to model Parkinson's Disease in Drosophila

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra due to nerve cell damage that results in decreased levels of dopamine. The progression of PD often develops slowly, but can also vary. Diagnosis of PD is based on symptoms of; tremors, slow movement, stiffness of limbs, and loss of balance. In the United States, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD every year. Drosophila melanogaster is a commonly used animal model in PD research due to the ability to observe PD progression, both physically and anatomically, at a small scale. Studies have used rotenone to induce PD within Drosophila and found the pesticide results in similar symptoms seen in those who have progressive PD. Creatine, a dietary supplement, is an amino acid that’s produced in your body's pancreas, liver, etc., and can be used as an energy source. Research has shown that creatine can improve muscle mass, prevent injuries, and improve mental cognition. Since PD results in a decrease in muscle mass, creatine may be able to regenerate previous lost mass. This study takes a deeper look into PD progression and relief in Drosophila by using rotenone to induce PD within the animal model, and uses creatine as a possible symptom relief. We use negative geotaxis to measure the physical PD progression and relief within Drosophila, as well as brain dissection to measure the anatomical PD progression. We expect Drosophila treated with creatine will experience improved muscle mass and decreased anatomical PD progression.

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