Study Finds Proof that Immune Defenses Amplify Parkinson's Disease Damage

The same mechanism that lets the immune system mount a massive attack against invading bacteria contributes to the destruction of brain cells as part of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published online today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Harms-neurons_sBuild-up of a protein called alpha-synuclein (green)
triggers an immune reaction through MHCII (red)
that kills nerve cells (blue) in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) found that shutting down production of a key group of immune proteins, major histocompatibility complex II (MHCII), completely protected mice that displayed a “human version” of the disease from related nerve cell death.

The MHCII protein complex enables cells that first respond to infections to display pieces of bacteria or viruses on their surfaces for notice by a second part of the immune system. These displayed pieces of invaders trigger a massive, second wave of immune reactions led by T cells and B cells. While vital to body’s ability to combat infectious disease, full-scale immune responses cause disease-related inflammation and cell death when unleashed in the wrong place. To see the full story click below:

http://www.uab.edu/news/latest/item/3518-study-finds-proof-that-immune-defenses-amplify-parkinsons-disease-damage