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Scripps Research Institute team identifies a potential cause of Parkinson's disease
Date:11/19/2012

inergic neurons to oxidative stress associated with neuroinflammation," said Marcondes.

The finding also demonstrated that anti-inflammatory cytokines could contribute to neuronal loss. In their article, the authors note they are not suggesting that inflammation is benign but that IL-13 and IL-4 may be harmful to neurons expressing the IL-13Rα1, despite their ability to ultimately reduce inflammation. "One could say that it is not the fall that hurts you, but how you stop," said Conti.

More Clues

Along with these results, additional clues suggest that the IL-13 receptor system could be a major player in Parkinson's. For instance, some studies show Parkinson's as more prevalent in males, and the gene for IL-13Rα1 is located on the X chromosome, where genetic variants are more likely to affect males.

And, though not definitive, other studies have suggested that Parkinson's disease might be more common among allergy sufferers. Since IL-13 plays a role in controlling allergic inflammation, Conti wonders if the IL-13 receptor system might explain this correlation.

If further research confirms the IL-13 receptor acts in a similar way in human dopaminergic neurons as in mice, the discovery could pave the way to addressing the underlying cause of Parkinson's disease. Researchers might, for instance, find that drugs that block IL-13 receptors are useful in preventing loss of dopaminergic cells during neuroinflammation. And, since the IL-13 receptor forms a complex with the IL-4 receptor alpha, this might also be a target of interest. With much exciting research ahead, Conti said, "This is just the beginning."


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Contact: Jann Coury
jcoury@scripps.edu
858-784-8245
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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