Parkinson disease and the immune system - associations, mechanisms and therapeutics.


Journal Article (Review)

Multiple lines of evidence indicate that immune system dysfunction has a role in Parkinson disease (PD); this evidence includes clinical and genetic associations between autoimmune disease and PD, impaired cellular and humoral immune responses in PD, imaging evidence of inflammatory cell activation and evidence of immune dysregulation in experimental models of PD. However, the mechanisms that link the immune system with PD remain unclear, and the temporal relationships of innate and adaptive immune responses with neurodegeneration are unknown. Despite these challenges, our current knowledge provides opportunities to develop immune-targeted therapeutic strategies for testing in PD, and clinical studies of some approaches are under way. In this Review, we provide an overview of the clinical observations, preclinical experiments and clinical studies that provide evidence for involvement of the immune system in PD and that help to define the nature of this association. We consider autoimmune mechanisms, central and peripheral inflammatory mechanisms and immunogenetic factors. We also discuss the use of this knowledge to develop immune-based therapeutic approaches, including immunotherapy that targets α-synuclein and the targeting of immune mediators such as inflammasomes. We also consider future research and clinical trials necessary to maximize the potential of targeting the immune system.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tan, E-K; Chao, Y-X; West, A; Chan, L-L; Poewe, W; Jankovic, J

Published Date

  • June 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 303 - 318

PubMed ID

  • 32332985

Pubmed Central ID

  • 32332985

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1759-4766

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41582-020-0344-4


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England