Autoimmune response may play a role in Parkinson’s

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?

 

Contributing to Research via DNA sharing

I had my DNA analyzed by 23AndMe and in addition to getting some somewhat innocuous reports on my genetic makeup (including the revelation that there is about .5% match each with Askenazi and African groups somewhere in my ancestry, plus some Neanderthal genes) my data has been anonymously included in nine published articles/studies so far, including:

  1.   23and Me blog article on Depression and genes:  https://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/new-genetic-findings-on-depression/     The original (abstract of) the article on genes associated with depression:  http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v48/n9/full/ng.3623.html 
  2.  On genes related to risks of basal cell carcinoma:  https://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/new-study-on-genetics-of-common-type-of-skin-cancer/   Original article in Nature Communications:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4992160/  
  3.  AND OTHERS which can be found at 23AndMe Blog – Research category

    Live long and Prosper!

Eat now, exercise later, protect against insulin insensitivity – and more news!

From Medical News Today:

 “Harm from a weeks overeating may be canceled by exercise”

That’s the limit to the good news, though. The article also reports that even occasional binging can cause problems, and a week of overeating could have a negative effect on insulin sensitivity. Exercise could protect against this metabolic damage.

 For certain, a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet have been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome. The article is at this link: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313881.php

related article “Healthy living linked to higher brain function, delay of dementia

A diet high in vegetables and fruits leads to better cognitive functioning, and when combined with exercise, the effect is extended downwards to those who reported eating half as many vegetables.

the original research article is at http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/10/28/pubmed.fdw113

 In other news…

Mayo Clinic researchers found that it only takes 1 mutation in the PINK1 gene to increase the risk of early onslaught PD. Until this report, it had been thought you needed to have 2 mutated genes to make it happen.  Here are links to the pages:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/313885.php or

Heterozygous PINK1 p.G411S increases risk of Parkinson’s disease via a dominant-negative mechanism

 

 

Genetic risk for Early Onslaught Parkinson’s upped by PINK1 variation

Single mutation in recessive gene increases risk of earlier onset Parkinson’s disease

“A collaboration of 32 researchers in seven countries, led by scientists at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, has found a genetic mutation they say confers a risk for development of Parkinson’s disease earlier than usual.

The major study, published in Brain, is important because the risk comes from a single mutation in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) gene. Investigators had believed that this rare form of Parkinson’s developed only when a person inherited mutations in both PINK1 alleles (one from each parent).”

 You can download a copy of the original research article at this link: Heterozygous PINK1 p.G411S increases risk of Parkinson’s disease via a dominant-negative mechanism