Parkinson’s Gene Initiates Disease Outside of the Brain
The most common gene mutation associated with Parkinson’s alters cells circulating outside the brain, not within, offering a new understanding of what causes the disease.
Until very recently, Parkinson’s had been thought a disease that starts in the brain, destroying motion centers and resulting in tremors and loss of movement. New research shows the most common Parkinson’s gene mutation may change how immune cells react to generic infections like colds, which in turn trigger the inflammatory reaction in the brain that causes Parkinson’s. The research offers a new understanding of Parkinson’s disease.
“We know that brain cells called microglia cause the inflammation that ultimately destroys the area of the brain responsible for movement in Parkinson’s,” said Richard Smeyne, PhD, Director of the Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center at the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience. “But it wasn’t clear how a common inherited mutation was involved in that process, and whether the mutation altered microglia.”
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