The key role of T cells in Parkinson's disease pathogenesis and therapy

Jill K. Baird, Dennis Bourdette, Charles K. Meshul, Joseph F. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This review focuses on the role of T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and highlights evidence for modulation of the T cell response as an effective neuroprotective strategy. In preclinical models of Parkinson's disease, modulation of the T cell response results in neuroprotection. Peripheral markers of T cell response show changes in Parkinson's patients relative to controls that have potential application as diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers. The article also discusses the important immunomodulatory effects of dopamine which may confound study of T cells in patients on dopaminergic therapies, and highlights glatiramer acetate, an FDA-approved therapy for multiple sclerosis that works through modulating the T cell response, as a promising target for translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Biomarkers
  • Dopamine
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuroprotection
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pathogenesis
  • T cells
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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