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Funded Studies

Assessing Proteins LRRK2, GCase and Cytokines in Immune Cells

Study Rationale: 
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) and glucocerebrosidase (GCase) are two proteins linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). Both proteins are produced by immune cells in the blood, and both are thought to be involved in inflammation. Because of this overlap, it’s important to determine if these proteins work cooperatively to increase the risk of PD. This study aims to develop a blood test that will simultaneously measure levels and activity of LRRK2 and GCase in each type of immune cells in blood samples from people with Parkinson’s and from healthy people.

This study aims to determine the relationship between the functions of LRRK2 and GCase and the extent to which these proteins contribute to inflammation in people with Parkinson’s and in healthy people.

Study Design:
We will use blood samples from volunteer donors to determine the best protocol, i.e., way to measure LRRK2 and GCase in immune cells. We will then use that protocol to determine the relationship between the function of these two proteins in specific immune cells in blood samples from people with Parkinson’s with inherited changes in LRRK2 and GCase.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
A better understanding of the relationship between LRRK2 and GCase may help develop new experimental setups for further study of these proteins and design clinical trials of new drugs that target them.

Next Steps for Development:
Next steps will involve expanding the project to enroll more participants with Parkinson’s disease including those without inherited changes in LRRK2 and GCase.


  • Nicolas Dzamko, PhD

    Sydney Australia

  • Malú G. Tansey, PhD

    Gainesville, FL United States

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