Objective The core pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is a loss of the dopaminergic neurons in the nigro-striatal pathway, but this is only part of a more widespread pathological process, the nature of which is unknown. Recent data suggest a possible role for inflammation in this disease process. The Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) region is one of the most important genetic susceptibility factors in many immune-mediated diseases but has not been extensively investigated in PD.
Methods The authors typed the HLA class II loci HLA-DRB1 and -DQB1 in 528 patients with Parkinson's disease and 3430 controls from the UK.
Results The authors observed an association of HLA-DRB1 with susceptibility to Parkinson's disease. In particular, HLA-DRB1*03 was more common in patients compared with controls.
Conclusions These data suggest a possible role of the HLA region in susceptibility to Parkinson's disease and as such are consistent with other evidence supporting the role of an inflammatory process in the cellular loss in Parkinson's disease, especially of the nigral dopaminergic neurons.
- Parkinson's disease
- HLA-DRB1 antigen
- immune system
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Funding Aspects of this work were supported by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Parkinson's Disease Society, and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Award to the University of Cambridge. AG was supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO—Vlaanderen). CHWG was supported by a Patrick Berthoud Clinical Research Fellowship and a Raymond and Beverley Sackler studentship. We acknowledge use of genotype data from the British 1958 Birth Cohort DNA collection, funded by the Medical Research Council grant G0000934 and the Wellcome Trust grant 068545/Z/02.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the local ethics committee (Cambridge, UK).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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