Original of this story at: Medical News Today web site 21 June 2017
The exact causes of Parkinson’s disease are unknown, but an important hallmark is the buildup of damaged alpha-synuclein protein in dopamine-producing cells.
The new study reveals evidence that two fragments of alpha-synuclein can trigger T cells to initiate an attack by the immune system.
The researchers tested blood samples from 67 patients with Parkinson’s disease and control samples from 36 healthy patients.
They exposed the blood samples to fragments of proteins found in brain cells, including fragments of alpha-synuclein. The blood from the controls hardly reacted, but T cells in the blood from the Parkinson’s patients had a strong reaction to defined fragments from alpha-synuclein
The finding suggests that certain variants of MHC – such as those associated with Parkinson’s disease – may cause T cells to mistakenly identify the alpha-synuclein fragments as pathogens and thus trigger an autoimmune response that destroys the offending cells.
A lot of work still needs to be done,, but it could help to provide a diagnostic test for risk or early stages of PD, which is sorely needed.
I wonder – Could you get allergy shots with alpha synuclein protein fragments to reduce or eliminate the autoimmune response and thus keep T-Cells from attacking the dopaminergic neurons?