(HealthDay News) — Animal studies have uncovered a compound that might reduce the adverse effects of levodopa. The research was published in the Nov. 18 issue of Neuron.

In the new study, an international team of researchers discovered that the brain neurons responsible for levodopa’s side effects have a unique surface receptor that should normally help balance the effects of the drug.

When mice and monkeys with Parkinson-like diseases were given a new compound — an M4 muscarinic receptor positive allosteric modulator — that boosted the function of the receptor, there was a sharp drop in uncontrolled movement caused by levodopa.

“If clinical trials confirm our preliminary findings, the eventual drug developed could make a significant improvement in the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease,” lead researcher D. James Surmeier, Ph.D., chair of physiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said in a university news release.

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