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Immune system clue to Parkinson's care

Friday October 4th, 2019

Parkinson's Disease may benefit from management with immune-regulating drugs - which might even help with prevention, Danish scientists have reported.

The conclusions come from a laboratory study investigating links between the disease and inflammatory disorders.

Researchers found that immune cells found in Parkinson's disease patients were "significantly worse" at regulating immune markers on the cell surface than those found in healthy patients.

They were also less efficient at secreting anti-inflammatory molecules.

The researchers say the findings suggest potential benefits in identifying people at risk of developing the disease.

The study at Aarhus University, Denmark, has been published in the Movement Disorders journal.

It involved comparing blood samples from 29 patients with 20 control subjects and studying reactions to the alpha-synuclein protein, which has been linked to development of the disease.

Researcher Sara Konstantin Nissen said: "The immune system functions in a delicate balance. On the one hand, it cleans up invasive microorganisms and accumulations of unwanted proteins, such as alpha-synuclein, and does so by creating an inflammatory condition.

"But on the other hand, the immune system must also avoid damaging the body's own cells via too much inflammation, and apparently this balance goes awry in the case of Parkinson's disease."

She added: "Screening everyone for changes in the blood's immune cells would be pointless. However, we know that more than half of those who suffer from the sleep disorder, RBD, develop Parkinson's disease years later, so this is an obvious place to start.

"Other studies show that inflammation in the body can be reduced with exercise as a form of treatment, which can therefore reduce the risk of becoming ill at all. However, this requires a change of views among medical doctors and neurologists, because they will have to treat Parkinson's disease as more than just a brain disorder."

Alterations in Blood Monocyte Functions in Parkinson's Disease. Movement Disorders 26 August 2019

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mds.27815

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Brain & Neurology | Europe

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