Navigation Links
Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?
Date:4/17/2014

NEW YORK, NY (April 16, 2014) The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the way autoimmune diseases like type I diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis attack the body's cells. The study was published April 16, 2014, in Nature Communications.

"This is a new, and likely controversial, idea in Parkinson's disease; but if true, it could lead to new ways to prevent neuronal death in Parkinson's that resemble treatments for autoimmune diseases," said the study's senior author, David Sulzer, PhD, professor of neurobiology in the departments of psychiatry, neurology, and pharmacology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

The new hypothesis about Parkinson's emerges from other findings in the study that overturn a deep-seated assumption about neurons and the immune system.

For decades, neurobiologists have thought that neurons are protected from attacks from the immune system, in part, because they do not display antigens on their cell surfaces. Most cells, if infected by virus or bacteria, will display bits of the microbe (antigens) on their outer surface. When the immune system recognizes the foreign antigens, T cells attack and kill the cells. Because scientists thought that neurons did not display antigens, they also thought that the neurons were exempt from T-cell attacks.

"That idea made sense because, except in rare circumstances, our brains cannot make new neurons to replenish ones killed by the immune system," Dr. Sulzer says. "But, unexpectedly, we found that some types of neurons can display antigens."

Cells display antigens with special proteins called MHCs. Using postmortem brain tissue donated to the Columbia Brain Bank by healthy donors, Dr. Sulzer and his postdoc Carolina Cebrin, PhD, first noticedto their surprisethat MHC-1 proteins were present in two types of neurons. These two types of neuronsone of which is dopamine neurons in a brain region called the substantia nigradegenerate during Parkinson's disease.

To see if living neurons use MHC-1 to display antigens (and not for some other purpose), Drs. Sulzer and Cebrin conducted in vitro experiments with mouse neurons and human neurons created from embryonic stem cells. The studies showed that under certain circumstancesincluding conditions known to occur in Parkinson'sthe neurons use MHC-1 to display antigens. Among the different types of neurons tested, the two types affected in Parkinson's were far more responsive than other neurons to signals that triggered antigen display.

The researchers then confirmed that T cells recognized and attacked neurons displaying specific antigens.

The results raise the possibility that Parkinson's is partly an autoimmune disease, Dr. Sulzer says, but more research is needed to confirm the idea.

"Right now, we've showed that certain neurons display antigens and that T cells can recognize these antigens and kill neurons," Dr. Sulzer says, "but we still need to determine whether this is actually happening in people. We need to show that there are certain T cells in Parkinson's patients that can attack their neurons."

If the immune system does kill neurons in Parkinson's disease, Dr. Sulzer cautions that it is not the only thing going awry in the disease. "This idea may explain the final step," he says. "We don't know if preventing the death of neurons at this point will leave people with sick cells and no change in their symptoms, or not."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ann Rae Jonas or Doug Levy
cumcnews@columbia.edu
212-305-3900
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Parkinsons drug helps older people to make decisions
2. Reactions to HIV drug have autoimmune cause, reports AIDS journal
3. New grant awards aim to prevent autoimmune diseases
4. How infection can trigger autoimmune disease
5. Statins have potential to treat an autoimmune clotting disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome
6. Autoimmune disease linked to pregnancy loss, stroke more often than you’d expect
7. Estrogen fuels autoimmune liver damage
8. Mediaplanet Releases Autoimmune Awareness Campaign Within The Washington Post
9. Mount Sinai researchers discover mechanism behind development of autoimmune hepatitis
10. Isolated psychiatric episodes rare, but possible, in common form of autoimmune encephalitis
11. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) to host Gut, Brain, and Autoimmune Disorders: the Role of Food Symposium in Los Angeles, CA August 16-17, 2013
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Chuck E. Cheese’s® and Center for Autism and Related ... Chuck E. Cheese’s locations throughout New England, New York and New Jersey to provide ... the fun of visiting Chuck E. Cheese’s in a sensory-friendly environment. , After ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... The Citadel’s new Swain Department ... being led by Amelia Joseph, Ph.D. Joseph was engaged by the college as a ... department in early 2016. After a nation-wide search, she was selected to head the ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... ... result in better care, and MEDfx and the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) ... , As the nation’s first state-wide health information exchange, DHIN stores and shares ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... Waltham, Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... February 17, 2017 ... ... be the leading source of disruptive innovation in the industry, according to the ... Insights Reports are based on surveys of the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council, a ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Park Cities Pet Sitter President, Joette White, ... Pet Life Radio network. The episode, which was posted this week, features a ... factors led to Park Cities Pet Sitter’s being awarded the 2017 National Association of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/19/2017)... Feb. 19, 2017   AC Group Inc. , ... ranking of vendors in the PMS/EHR healthcare marketplace, will ... system requirements to succeed in this ecosystem at HIMSS,17. ... together information obtained from over 200 ACOs, compared and ... and services companies that are providing different pieces of ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... , February 18, 2017 Marapharm ... to purchase a Medical Delivery Service with the specific ... transactions between qualified patients and caregivers. The delivery service ... located in the Coachella Valley, California ... Los Angeles area to the West, population ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... Feb. 17, 2017   Parker Waichman ... the rights of victims injured by medical devices, ... to call for better reporting. Congress required hospitals ... Safety concerns involving power morcellators and duodenoscopes prompted ... investigate how hospitals report injuries and deaths related ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: