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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2008;14(1):46-51. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

Natural killer cells of Parkinson's disease patients are set up for activation: a possible role for innate immunity in the pathogenesis of this disease.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuoka University, 8-19-1 Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.


Neuroinflammation in Parkinson's disease (PD) involves activation of microglia, participation of several inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins, complement and systemic activation of natural killer (NK) cells, suggesting that innate immunity has a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. In this study, we examined NK activity and the expression of its regulatory molecules in peripheral lymphocytes of PD patients and compared the results with those of healthy controls. Expression of the inhibitory NKG2A receptors was significantly lower in PD, causing PD patients to be susceptible in a condition for NK activation after NK cells bind to target cells via these receptors.

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