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July 2017

Parkinson Disease and Autoimmune Disorders—What Can We Learn From Genome-wide Pleiotropy?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 2Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 3McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 4Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville
JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(7):769-770. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.0843

Although autoimmune disorders are not widely associated with Parkinson disease (PD), there is increasing evidence for a link between immunity and neurodegenerative disorders.1 Indeed, innate immunity and adaptive immunity have been implicated in neurodegenerative disorders. One of the more provocative examples is TREM2, a member of the immunoglobulin receptor superfamily expressed in microglia and tissue macrophages, which has gene variants that are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer disease.2,3 Other TREM2 variants are linked to the development of polycystic lipomembranous osteodysplasia with sclerosing leukoencephalopathy, a dementia associated with bone cystic lesions.4 Another example with less clear biological significance is the reproducible genetic association between a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the MAPT locus and type 1 diabetes.5