New Evidence shows Parkinson’s could be Autoimmune Disease


A new article posted in Nature, Journal of Science suggests that Parkinson’s could be an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body. David Sulzer and his team at Columbia University studied brain tissue samples postmortem, and discovered that dopamine-producing neurons do display antigens.

The prevailing thought in Parkinson’s research has been that the disease begins with clumping of a protein called synuclein in the brain, which causes neighbouring dopamine-producing neurons to die—the result of this being tremors and difficulty moving associated with Parkinson’s.

This appears to be the first evidence that the immune system plays a major pathological role in Parkinson’s. However despite the findings by Sulzer, they are still looking into whether the neuron death is caused by immune response, or if it is a side effect of the disease.

Either way, the research found could lead to new ways to treat the illness.

—Source: Nature, Journal of Science (