White blood cells could help diagnose people at risk of Parkinson’s, study finds

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Author: Saskia MairPublished: 30 April 2020

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Scientists in the US have found additional evidence for the link between immune cells and Parkinson’s ­– alongside signs of autoimmunity present in individuals years before their Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The study – conducted by researchers from La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, US – revealed a higher count of T cells (a type of white blood cell) in participants at the time of diagnosis but showed that few still had these cells 10 years later.

Dr Alessandro Sette, who co-led the study, said: “This tells us that detection of T cell responses could help in the diagnosis of people at risk or in early stages of [Parkinson’s] disease development.

“Importantly, we could dream of a scenario where early interference with T cell responses could prevent the disease from manifesting itself or progressing.”


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