, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 351–355 | Cite as

Does Parkinson’s Disease Have an Immunological Basis?

The Evidence and its Therapeutic Implications
  • Urszula Fiszer
Leading Article


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an age-related neurodegenerative movement disorder of unknown aetiology. Immune abnormalities have been described in PD including the occurrence of autoantibodies against neuronal structures and high numbers of microglia cells expressing the histocompatibility glycoprotein human leucocyte antigen-DR in the substantia nigra. An infectious cause for PD has been discussed for years. Disturbed cellular and humoral immune functions in peripheral blood of patients with PD have been also reported. An elevated γδ+ T cell population and increased immunoglobulin G immunity in CSF to heat shock proteins have been found in PD. Cytokines and apoptosis-related proteins were elevated in the striatum in patients with PD. Activated glial cells may participate in neuronal cell death in PD by providing toxic substances. We may conclude that the immune system is involved in the pathogenesis of PD. However, we are not able to determine whether the disturbances described above constitute a primary or secondary phenomenon. Immunomodulatory agents may have important applications in the development of new therapies for PD.


Substantia Nigra Lewy Body Human Leucocyte Antigen Bordetella Pertussis Immune Abnormality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Supported in part by a grant from the Medical Center for Postgraduate Education in Warsaw, Poland.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Urszula Fiszer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology and EpileptologyMedical Center for Postgraduate EducationWarsawPoland

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