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New Evidence Linking Parkinson’s and Autoimmunity

11:11 EDT 21 Jun 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Much of the etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) was thought to be well established, with the noted exception of the hypothesis that has been kicked around for almost a century that PD is partly an autoimmune disorder. Unfortunately, previous studies were unable to directly link the immune system to the neurodegenerative disease. However, a group of scientists led by investigators at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology has found direct evidence that autoimmunity—in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues—plays a role in the neurodegenerative movement disorder.        "The idea that a malfunctioning immune system contributes to Parkinson's dates back almost 100 years," explained co-senior study investigator David Sulzer, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology at CUMC. "But until now, no one has been able to connect the dots. Our findings show that two fragments of alpha-synuclein, a protein ...

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