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Immune Cells Contribute To Development Of Parkinson's Disease

Date:
December 26, 2008
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that impairs movement, balance, speech, and other functions. Although immune cells accumulate in the brain of individuals with Parkinson's disease, these cells were not thought to have a role in the development of disease. However, new research has now shown that immune cells known as CD4+ T cells make a significant contribution to the development of disease in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that impairs movement, balance, speech, and other functions. It is characterized by the loss of nerves in the brain that produce a substance known as dopamine. Although the loss of dopamine-containing nerves is accompanied by accumulation of immune cells known as T cells, these accumulating T cells were not thought to have a role in the development of disease.

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However, Stéphane Hunot, Etienne C. Hirsch, and colleagues, at INSERM UMR 679, France, have now shown that CD4+ T cells make a significant contribution to the development of disease in a mouse model of Parkinson disease.

In the study, a substantial number of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells were observed to have accumulated in postmortem brain tissue from individuals with Parkinson disease and mice with a Parkinson-like disease. Importantly, mice lacking all T cells developed substantially less severe disease in the mouse model of Parkinson disease. Further analysis indicated that protection was specifically associated with a lack of CD4+ T cells expressing the protein FasL.

The authors therefore suggest that targeting the immune system might provide a new therapeutic approach to treating Parkinson disease. However, in an accompanying commentary, Stanley Appel, at Methodist Neurological Institute, Houston, warns that although these data provide rationale for immune-based strategies, there are a large number of questions that need to be answered before such approaches can be considered in the clinic.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brochard et al. Infiltration of CD4 lymphocytes into the brain contributes to neurodegeneration in a mouse model of Parkinson disease
. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2008; DOI: 10.1172/JCI36470

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune Cells Contribute To Development Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221451.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2008, December 26). Immune Cells Contribute To Development Of Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221451.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune Cells Contribute To Development Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221451.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

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