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J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Oct;33(10):2768-9.

Nocardia species as an etiologic agent in Parkinson's disease: serological testing in a case-control study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160-7314, USA.


To test the hypothesis that Nocardia spp. may be an etiologic factor in Parkinson's disease (PD), we used a serodiagnostic panel to determine if PD patients had antibodies specific for Nocardia spp. To validate the serological test panel, sera from healthy volunteers and from patients with culture-proven nocardiosis (n = 307) were compared in part 1 of the study. The sensitivity of the panel was 88% for detection of culture-proven nocardial infections, and specificity was 85% (excluding cross-reactive leprosy cases). In part 2, no difference in seropositivity was found when PD patients were compared with their age- and gender-matched controls (n = 140). We found a high exposure rate of humans to nocardial antigens, especially among men and older individuals. Our results offer no support to the hypothesis that Nocardia spp. are causative in PD; however, it is possible that serological testing may not be optimal for detection of nocardial central nervous system infection.

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