Parkinson's disease, which affects an estimated 4 million to 10 million people worldwide, is a progressive movement disorder with no known cure.
It is not known for certain what causes the disease, but research has shown that it's linked with the loss of nerve cells in the brain that secrete dopamine, a chemical that is involved in movement and emotion.
To find a potential new therapy for PD, researchers from South Korea searched for a way to shield these brain cells.
They made 56 compounds and tested them to see which ones boosted the production of proteins that protect dopamine-releasing neurons from damage.
Of those, one, which they call "12g," proved to be the most active. Interestingly, it protected mice from developing PD-like symptoms in one laboratory test.
"Taken together, 12g was found to effectively prevent the motor deficits that are associated with PD," researchers said.
The study appears in American Chemical Society's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.