T cells that react to alpha-synuclein are most abundant in the early stages of Parkinson's disease but tend to disappear as the disease progresses. Signs of autoimmunity can appear in Parkinson's patients up to ten years before a diagnosis of the neurodegenerative disease. The detection of T cell response could be an early biomarker for Parkinson's, long before the physical symptoms begin to manifest.
Natural killer cells may play a critical role in regulating and restraining neuroinflammation and protein clumping associated with Parkinson's disease.
Ambroxol, a medication approved to treat coughs, may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. The medication is able to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier and increases levels of GCase in patients' brains. Ambroxol also appears to reduce Parkinson's-related alpha-synuclein levels.
10% of patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are between the ages of 21 and 50. For those with young-onset Parkinson's disease, researchers report the foundations for the disease may have been apparent before they were born. The study also points to a drug, currently approved to treat precancerous skin growths, that has the potential to reduce elevated levels of alpha-synuclein.
Scientists are conducting experiments to see if targeting the enteric nervous system with a compound can inhibit the aggregation of alpha-synuclein and slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Lewy body disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, comprise of two distinct subtypes. One subtype originates in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) of the gut and spreads to the brain. The other originates in the brain, or enters the brain via the olfactory system, before spreading to the brainstem and PNS.
Parkinson's disease involves monocytic alterations in the blood. The cells have reduced viability and are unresponsive to specific stimuli, which could have relevant consequences for the progression of Parkinson's. Immune modulation medications may be a new treatment option to inhibit neurodegeneration associated with PD.
Two months after injecting alpha-synuclein into the intestines of rats, researchers discovered the proteins had traveled to the brain via peripheral nerves. Four months later, the pathology was greater. Additionally, the protein had traveled to the heart. The study supports the hypothesis that Parkinson's disease may begin in the intestinal system before migrating to the brain.