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T lymphocyte senescence is attenuated in Parkinson’s disease

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Jensen, Melanie 
Papastavrou, Vanesa 
Scott, Kirsten M. 
Kolenda, Claire 


Abstract: Background: Immune involvement is well-described in Parkinson’s disease (PD), including an adaptive T lymphocyte response. Given the increasing prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in older age, age-related dysregulation of T lymphocytes may be relevant in this disorder, and we have previously observed changes in age-associated CD8+ T cell subsets in mid-stage PD. This study aimed to further characterise T cell immunosenescence in newly diagnosed PD patients, including shifts in CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations, and changes in markers of cellular ageing in CD8+ T lymphocytes. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were extracted from the blood of 61 newly diagnosed PD patients and 63 age- and sex-matched controls. Flow cytometric analysis was used for immunophenotyping of CD8+ and CD4+ lymphocyte subsets, and analysis of recent thymic emigrant cells. Telomere length within CD8+ T lymphocytes was assessed, as well as the expression of the telomerase reverse transcriptase enzyme (hTERT), and the cell-ageing markers p16INK4a and p21CIP1/Waf1. Results: The number of CD8+ TEMRA T cells was found to be significantly reduced in PD patients compared to controls. The expression of p16INK4a in CD8+ lymphocytes was also lower in patients versus controls. Chronic latent CMV infection was associated with increased senescent CD8+ lymphocytes in healthy controls, but this shift was less apparent in PD patients. Conclusions: Taken together, our data demonstrate a reduction in CD8+ T cell replicative senescence which is present at the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease.



Research, Parkinson’s disease, Immunosenescence, T lymphocytes, Ageing markers

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Journal of Neuroinflammation

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BioMed Central
michael j. fox foundation for parkinson's research (14912)
medical research council (MR/R007446/1)